Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rick's Street Painting

Written by Rick Maehlmann (Katie's husband)

My intentions are for this to be a bit of a fun entry, but I’m probably admitting to being a geek more than anything with this post. I’ve had the idea for this post for some time, but now I’m finally pulling the trigger and making my thoughts reality. “Painting the streets” is an interesting concept for me. I didn’t even know I could do this with a Garmin watch until I was playing around with some software for our Garmin one day.

Before I get into how I “paint” streets, let me say a thing or two about GPS watches and how we ended up with one. Katie and I purchased a Garmin 405 a little less than two years ago. GPS watches aren’t cheap and the price alone probably would have prohibited us from purchasing one. A $50 Garmin rebate, and a $50 gift card to Fleet Feet made it a much more reasonable purchase. I’m the type of person who likes to know how far and fast I’ve gone. So, prior to purchasing a Garmin, I would often run the same routes with a known distance over and over and use a standard stopwatch in order to know my pace. But I also felt a bit confined because I like to explore. I really liked the fact that our Garmin opened up possibilities. After the purchase, I could run wherever I felt led and have a good idea about pace and distance.

Back to the idea about painting the streets. Like I mentioned, I was investigating the “Training Center” software for our Garmin and noticed an option to view the selected course in Google Earth. I noticed that, when I did, the course I had done was “painted” red on the map and I had an option to save that course. Viewing and saving several courses painted all of the paths I had run. The map slowly filled with more and more red “paint” as I saved each run. Looking at the map, I could see different connecting streets I hadn’t run and wanted to explore. So now I can run for a known distance and pace, explore, and the result is “painted” streets in Google Earth. Before runs I have started planning routes to explore a new area, street, or subdivision I haven’t run before. It helps keep the scenery new and interesting. Below are a few screen captures from Google earth.

Madison, AL

Greater Huntsville

Genome Way in Research Park

Read more of Rick's entries here, here, here, and here.


  1. That's so cool! Too bad my crappy 305 software can't do that. lol!

  2. I too felt so free once I got my Garmin to simply run anywhere! I could turn where I wanted, decide to add a hill or not to add one, try a new road - anything. It was especially nice when traveling someplace I'd never been and being able to just run around until I had the mileage I wanted.

    But I have not explored this Google Earth option. I am going to have to try that! Very cool!

  3. THAT IS THE COOLEST THING!!!!!!!!! I actually just downloaded the Training Center but haven't even really looked at it. (I've had my Garmin for almost 4 years but never really new about TC before.) I hope you know you've created a MONSTER!!!! I can not wait to paint some streets myself!! :D

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  5. Gracie, I believe the Training Center software is available as a free download from the Garmin site. See the link in my post. A right click on a particular activity will bring up a menu. One of the options available is "View in Google Earth"

  6. I did not notice the Google Earth option in the Training Center. I'll have to check that out. Greg and his running buddy like running the "double helix".