Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a full-time personal assistant within arms-reach? They would pick the route of your morning workout for you, keep track of your heartrate and tell you how you’re doing, settle the bill at your favorite local restaurants, tell you which trails to turn onto, and more. From the time you wake up, to the time you head to sleep, a smartwatch like the Garmin fēnix 5X Plus makes you feel like you can conquer anything and go anywhere.
The alarm starts ringing and my wrist starts buzzing before dawn, and after one press of the “snooze” button (ok, maybe two), I’m up and moving. I sit down for a light breakfast and scroll through a few statistics of my night’s sleep, sent from my watch to my phone. A solid 8 hours and consistent REM cycles has set me up for a busy but well-rested day. My phone dings but I read the text on my watch: My buddy is outside and ready for our morning run.
Trying Something New
Standing at the end of my driveway, we decide we’re sick of our standard loop and want to run something new. I input into my watch that we’re looking for an 8-mile loop to the north of my house—if we can get up into the hills in that direction, we should catch the last bit of sunrise. My fēnix 5X Plus spits out three different route options that were compiled using other runners’ popular GPS tracks tracked with its Trendline feature. One of them goes past my favorite overlook, so we select that option.
I feel confident running a new route thanks to the watch. Tone and vibration cues on my wrist outline the turns I need to make to ensure we never get off course. Unfortunately, my friend is a lot faster than I am and before long he is well ahead of me. Running solo, I decide to pull my Bluetooth headphones from my pocket and listen to a news podcast to get me ready for the day. Although I left my phone at home, I have enough audio saved right to my watch to be able to run this loop a couple (hundred) more times without ever needing to listen to the same podcast twice.
Before long, I’ve finished my run (I averaged an 8-minute pace and kept my heart rate under 150!), made it home to shower, and headed to work. After having sat at my desk for 20 minutes, I glance at my watch. The rush of the morning and nearly clocking in late had my heart rate and stress level way up, but its finally settled back down.
At lunchtime, I walk to my favorite deli, and get my usual roast beef and provolone sandwich, nodding to the guy behind the counter and holding my watch over the card reader. It’s no surprise that in the hectic rush out of the house this morning, I forgot my wallet on the nightstand. Garmin Pay has me covered.
Not much work gets done this afternoon, as a flurry of texts go back and forth among my friends while planning our weekend climbing trip. As the texts pop up on my fēnix, I read them there then peek around to make sure my boss isn’t watching before I grab my phone and respond.
At the Crag
I’m out of work an hour early and at the trailhead not long after that. The crag we’re shooting for, a few thousand feet above a rocky slope, is programmed into my watch, as are full topographic maps. I checked the sunset time on my fēnix before leaving work, and if we make good time, we might be able to get there to watch the sky turn red. As we hike up, I can feel my breathing getting harder, so I check my blood oxygen saturation quickly using the Pulse Ox widget on my watch—I’m definitely feeling the thin air up here!
Time to Recharge
After warming up on a few finger cracks, watching the sunset from the belay, and heading back down by headlamp, I slide into my sleeping bag at camp. It’s been a full day but thankfully I have a full weekend of exploring these cliffs ahead of me. As much as I might need to recharge, though, my watch will keep going. It normally lasts 18 hours, if I’m continuously running the GPS. So, as long as I’m mindful of using the GPS, I shouldn’t have any problem getting through this weekend without needing to plug it in. Now, let’s see how I sleep at this altitude.