Garmin Fenix 3 “On-the-go” Charger – UNDER CONSTRUCTION


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I’m finishing the build on the charger. As you may know, the Fenix is great watch but fails in the ultra-track mode to record GPS accurately. Fenix specs 16 hours battery life in GPS mode and I don’t know if that includes Bluetooth and GlONASS on, barely enough or not for Miwok 100K, for example. Fenix 3 has an 80 mAH battery, easily recharged several times from the small, 600 mAH 14430 Li ion battery you see in the photo.

A feature of the F3 and its firmware is to allow charging during an activity, something previously not workable on other Garmin GPS watches.

The charging cradle is extremely light and not noticeable on the wrist. You could, of course, just plug a portable, single Li 18650 charging stick into the cradle with a micro USB cable as DCR shows here.

But then you have to deal with a flopping wire, which I drives me nuts and gets snagged on anything.  Placement of the components as shown below is a bit of a fail because the left side buttons are not accessible.  I’m thinking about putting the battery and DC to DC converter into a small, zippered wrist pouch versus a velcro’d wrist band formerly used to hold a compass.  In that way, the buttons are accessible while charging.  I will probably hack directly into the cradle to bypass the micro USB connection, which sticks out of the side of the cradle.

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I discovered a better battery for this project.  Recall that the F3 has a 300 mAH battery.  I discovered that Lithium Polymer batteries (LiPo) come in literally all sizes and can be very inexpensive because they are used in various motorized toys, particularly helicopters.

Notes on USB charging



NTTR Grasslands Trail Races

Grasslands trail marathon

Here are generic notes or recommendations and below are details about the particular years.

Travel from Dallas – Leave by 0345 for the 50 mile and 0445 for the marathon which start at 0700 and 0800 respectively. But shoot for leaving 15 minutes earlier!!

Departing Dallas at 4:45 got me into the parking area there by 0615 and I was registered by 0630. There is a start / finish drop zone to quickly leave a bag at. Race overview will typically be at 0655 so be there for instructions in case there are details not to miss.



Shooting for 0430 departure, I left Dallas at 0435 and arrived at 0615. I had not registered and registration was quick. Trail races are not big and the registration and packet stuff was quick and easy. I dropped my bag at the start / finish drop zone, put on my HR monitor and put a little water into my one bottle on my Jurek vest. I walked around with my Sprinter head lamp but ditched it just before the start as it was approaching sunrise. In retrospect, a tiny hand held torch would have been worth carrying for the first 15 minutes as it was really pretty dark. I did want to warm up slowly but not that slowly.


Drop Zone

I had loaded up with about a 600 cc water plus around 9 grams of mixed Na and K salt and some Mg citrate in the morning. I made a big thermos of coffee with cream plus butter – around 700 cc from 60 gm coffee beans and drank half that morning and saved the other half for the drop bag.

The marathon consisted of two loops. Being used to running 10-12+ miles with just a water bottle or nothing, I could have left the vest for the second loop. There were two aid stations on this loop, plenty for going with just a bottle or nothing at all. There was plenty of sand in spite of recent rains. Maybe less than last year but more than I remember in past years. But the amount of sand was totally tolerable for a marathon. I did the 50M last year and remember more but maybe just because it was a longer race. The surface was generally nice and light ideal layer of sand to spots of unavoidable deep sand for up to maybe 100 yd.


I skipped the first aid and I think got just a bit of water on the second aid station around 8 mi. I generally only got a bit of water in my bottle at subsequent aid stations. I spent about 5 minutes at the S/F point but could have done better with almost no time there if I had prepared something to drink plus an extra bottle an snacks.




At the half I mixed up a bottle of roughly double strength DIY chocolate UCAN

  • 30 gm corn starch
  • 5 mg cocoa
  • 10 gm xylitol

Then added some of the BP coffee to the mix to warm it up. Very good but the fats in the coffee eventually hardened in the bottle.

Finishing time was 5:15:52 – 29 out of 81 starters
Winning time was 3:16

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BBQ at for the finishers this year was very good. In past years this wasn’t so.



I got all my stuff ready the night before.  The marathon distance at Grasslands consists of a 12.8 plus a 13.5 mile loop from the start / finish with a drop bag / aid area at the start.  The running surface in good weather and on this day was ideal for the most part, mostly dirt horse path through wooded areas.  There were a few segments of bumpy trail where horses had left footprints in the dried mud and there were some sandy segments that were sandier and slower than optimal, but these were a small part of the course.  Each half had two aid stations with water, sports drinks, gu’s and snacks.

I left dallas at Dallas at 4:45 and that was about perfect timing for starting the marathon.  It is an easy drive . . . Denton, then west on 380 to Decatur then north for 7 miles.  The marathon race was to start at 0700 and the 50 milers had already been going for about 15 minutes when I arrived at the park at 0615.  The RD decided to start the marathon at 0715 to let the 50 milers come through the start / finish without the congestion of the marathon start.  I had preregistered and packet pickup was quick and easy.

At 7:15 there was plenty of light for the start and we headed off along the white trail of 12.8 miles.  Very early on, the entire lead pack of about 15 runners went straight along a path over a dam when we should have turned left.  We ended up doing about an extra third of a mile but spent about 8 minutes in the process of both doing the extra distance and deciding where to go.  This was the first of three poorly marked areas that many got confused with.  The trail was in good shape throughout the course with just enough sand to provide a soft running surface although there were a few sand pits along the way and a few rough areas with dried horse footprints.

I skipped the 4 mi aid station except to check the zipper on my SJ vest.  At the 8 mi aid station I filled my water bottle with the sports drink du jour (forget what it was).  A cold front was moving in and we finished at around 48 degrees and stayed overcast – could not have been better.

I managed to step in the one muddy spot on the entire course at around 11 miles and thus changed shoes at the halfway point and this ate up about 9 minutes.  I changed into my old Vibram Five Finger KSO Treks.  This turned out to be a great choice and I managed to pick up the pace on the second half by about 45 sec per mile.  I passed 12 runners in the second half and wasn’t passed by anyone.

This was a great race in spite of the poor course marking at several locations.  That is frustrating but is sometimes a part of running trail races.

I wore my Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek vest and carried my phone, one water bottle, a few gu’s.  One bottle per 4 mile segment was about right for the 50 degree temp.  The race could have certain been done with just a hand held bottle or even just by drinking at the aid stations.


Surgery center setup

Call pts the night before.

“Surgery time” is 0700, usually get pt into room at 0715-0725.

Usual preop is famotidine 40, metoclopramide 10, clonidine 0.2 or 0.3, bicitra 30cc, given automatically.  Sylvia will ask how much clonidine.  You may modify any of this, of course.

Anes machine is older Ohmeda with manual and separate APL valve and vent to bag switch.  That is, you must close the APL valve when you switch to vent.  The APL valve does not need to be turned but about 1 turn to close adequately . . . don’t need to screw it in all the way.  You can determine this when you manually ventilate the pt and you play with the turns on the valve.  Ventilator is Ohio 7000 with manual on/off switch and you must, of course turn on the vent after switching to vent.

ITR Rodeo Valley trail run 2015

Josephie and I did this race last year, a nicely run ITR event that incorporates the trail system around Rodeo beach, Miwok and Tennessee Valley area.  The forecast was 50 / 70 degrees.

The 50K started at 0830.  I would love an early start for this race.  0830 seems like a waste daylight and cool weather and also a beautiful part of the day.

I wasn’t going to take photos this time but it’s hard not to on such a beautiful course.  I batch-reduced the photo sizes to around 200K (what you get when you click an image).

This year, the race started at Rodeo beach.  Last year, the course was shifted 1.6 mi into this year’s course route due to construction issues at the beach.  The start is mainly a tourist and surfing area.  We parked at the Marine Mammal center about half mile away and walk to the start to avoid overloading the limited beach parking.

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8K, 13.1, 20K, 30K and 50K races were available with the 50K and 30K starting together at 0830.

Prerace gathering and announcements:

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50K and 30K started on time in cool, breezy and slightly foggy weather.



At about mile 1.8 we cross Bunker road and begin climbing and can see the top runners across the valley and well into the first climb.  It’s a great day for running and we see many running groups and individuals as well as cyclists coming down the hill.

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Around mile 3.3 we hit the first aid station.  I don’t really need anything at this point but I drink the rest of my water bottle, grab some Cliff gummy chew blocks and refill my bottle.

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Now we will cross a road in a quarter mile and begin some steeper climbing.


Climbing continues up to what would be the overlook for the Golden Gate, but the fog is too heavy to see much.


More winding toward Tennessee Valley brings us to a long, 1.2 mile, 8.5% downhill grade into TV aid.  This is a smooth surface with light cinder like surface and descent is quick with little effort.  Looking at my GPS data in retrospect I see I did about an 8 min pace here.  A little more effort could easily have sped up that downhill pace but it’s really early in the race.

Now we come into the TV aid station.  We will hit this three times in the 50K.  Drop bags are allowed here but must be delivered and retrieved by the runner or his crew.  Aid stations were very well stocked.  I used my Scott Jurek with one water bottle for this race and carried about 1# of extra snacks that I never touched.  One could do quite well by just running with a water bottle on this race and I saw many runners doing this.


Leaving TV, we start the Pirate’s Cove loop – beautiful coastal views with plenty of climbing.

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The Pirate Cove loop is 10K and returns to the TV aid station over a section of road.


Leaving TV at 14.6 mi, we begin the 4 mile Rodeo loop, climb then descend into Rodeo beach, the start / finish.  Along the way we pass a big gun that once defended the coast from a WWII bunker on this hill.  It has a weight of 285,000# and fired a 16″ shell 26 miles.  Click on the image and you can see the rifling in the muzzle end.  This actual gun came from a retired WWII battleship but is identical to one of the pair of these that defended the coast at this site.

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Now comes rapid descent to the beach, the start / finish area and the Rodeo aid station.  Coming down the final stretch of road to the beach, the aid station is on the left and the start finish is 50 yards to the left.


I had left my drop bag in the wrong place at the start and it didn’t get moved to the aid station.  No big deal, I just refill my bottle and jog to the start area and get a muscle milk from my bag then return quickly to begin the second loop.

My 25K split had been 3:05.  I had hopes that I could do a 6 hr 50K if I was having a great day but this was pretty unlikely as I have never had a negative split second half 50K.  I was, however, feeling pretty good starting the second loop.  Last year I had burned myself out on the first 30K and recall walking excessively at the beginning of the second loop and ended up with a time of 6:29.  My typical slow-down for a 50K second half is always way more than I expect, thus I am thinking at this point that I may be lucky just to match last year’s finish time.

On the second loop I’m running things I did not run on the second loop last year but I’m certainly slower than my first loop.  The weather remains foggy and now it is windy but it has warmed just a bit.  I’m starting to heat up a bit in the valley area up to the first aid station on the loop.  At this point my hydration and nutrition are good and all systems are generally in good shape.  I drank the 250 Kcal muscle milk drink in the first mile of this 13 mi loop.  This, plus a bit of  Tailwind sports drink (sports drink du jour for this race) should be all the supplemental calories I’ll take for the rest of the race.  Being pretty full on Tailwind, water and muscle milk at this point since the 30K point it will be at least an hour before I can take in much of anything.  And not much later than that will be the final Rodeo section and I’ll be making a maximal effort on that section and won’t want to eat or drink.

Approaching the ridge above the Golden Gate area there is an insane wind blowing fog over the ridge toward the sea.  Maybe 50 mph, it seems almost dangerous but once I realize it isn’t going to blow me off the trail, I take off my hat and glasses and run on and watch the amazing weather.  The high wind feels good and I’m instantly cooled off to a nice level.  Once off the ridge, we enter a short segment of eucalyptus forest and the trees howl loudly in the wind.  Soon I get to the long decent into TV and once again go into 8%-downhill-grade-autopilot-decent although my GPS data later tells me my pace this time has increased to 9:30 per mile.  The wind has let up quite a bit.  It is perhaps 20-30 mph and is now a crosswind.

Coming into TV for the last time at mile 28 we will skip the Pirate’s Cove 10K loop and go straight to the final Rodeo loop.  I haven’t seen anyone who seems to be in my age group for a while.  This is the point where I enjoy having some sort of distraction in the form of other runners to attempt to pass or to avoid being passed by.  One female runner leaves TV just behind me and passes me on the switchbacks just after the TV horse stables.  I speed up a bit but she continues to put some distance on me.  I could put in a bit more effort, but with 3.5 mi to go I’m at about 85% effort and don’t think I want to go any faster just yet.  If she can continue that speed at this point then I’m not going to catch her.  After a few more climbs she’s no longer increasing her lead and then I think I’m closing the distance a bit.  There is a group of several runners about a half mi ahead on the other side of a valley. We have been gaining on them but I don’t know if they are racers.  That is another target to make before the finish.  There is also a young male runner in between and he is pulling away a bit and approaching the group of runners.  I pass the lady runner and continue on and catch the small group.  They are not in the race.  The other racer stays around 1/8 mi ahead and I think he is pulling away a bit.  Now we are about 2 mi away and I look back on the turns and the gal has dropped back by about the same distance.  It seems I need to focus on the racer ahead.  We arrive at the next to the last uphill of the race and I come to 100 yd behind him.  On the next 1/2 mi climb we are both running and I’m at 95% and he’s pulling ahead considerably.  I can be pretty decent on the end race downhills so there may be some hope there.

But no, we have two sections of stairs to descend and one short, steep rocky area and it slows me down more than him.  The last 3/4 mile into Rodeo beach is mostly twisty asphalt road with about a -10% grade.  I finish that section and the race with about a 7 minute pace which seems like a 5 minute pace at the time but Eric, ahead of me is really hauling on this downhill.

I end up with a 6:27:32 and was really happy to break 6:30 and beat my time from last year by about 2 minutes.  Eric, 33, isn’t in my age group and finishes 51 seconds ahead of me.  The gal I had passed, finishes about 4.5 minutes behind me.  Not that any of that matters except that it kept me moving fast on the section and on my own I probably would not have broken 6:30.


I’m 7/9 in my age group, 45/63 overall.  Last year I was 2/4 in my age group and 24/51 overall.  Weather was hotter last year from the start, so my roughly identical finishing time last year was probably a better performance than this year.

I used the Strava running app on my phone to track the race. It showed my actual moving time as 6:17 so that would put my aid station plus picture taking time at a total of 10 minutes (6 aid stations and maybe 50 photos).  I was pleased that my aid station time was reasonable.

There are some pretty cool plants along the trails.  I am always intrigued by the wild fennel that is everywhere and massive.  Apparently it has become invasive.  There are also flowers that look like orchids along the way.





Strava data here.



Miwok 100K trail run 2015

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This report is a mix of all sorts of information, a core dump so I can remember race details for Miwok and other future races, so others can understand some of the details and the attraction of ultra trail running either as an outsider, a road runner or at some current level of trail running.  These are all my own photos, some with some photoshopping and you may download and use them if you like.  I have reduced the file size of most to speed your viewing.  Clicking an image in WordPress opens the image in the browser.  In some cases I changed the link to open the full file size for some of the nicer photos.  I have also created a few links for equipment and other things mentioned in this report.  There may be some inaccuracies since I am from Dallas and reporting on this California race.  Also, it is dynamic and I may ‘improve’ it over time.

This is my first time to play with WordPress.  I think you can leave comments or corrections if you like.  I will try and make updates if I have the time.

Thanks for reading!

Prelude . . . some info I had sent to friends pre race, included here for some background on the race.

Hi friends. Josephie and I are en route to the west coast for the Miwok 100k trail run in Marin county. Miwok100 is a 62.2 mi trail running race with out-and-backs and loops and around 12,000 ft of elevation gain. It has taken place since 1996. It begins and ends at Stinson Beach State Park along the coast, north of San Francisco. The course winds up and down the coast between several beaches and the coastal mountains and forests. I’m lucky to be in this race. It has a lottery for entry with about a 50% lottery entry success ratio.  There are no specific race entry requirements other than . . . registration. (more…)