This post is sponsored by Garmin Venu but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
To fully understand this story about the Garmin Venu and Napali Coast, we have to step back a few weeks to a cold day in Seattle.
We were getting ready to head to Hawaii for a few weeks of sun and training, with it all culminating in running one of the most beautiful trails in the world, the 22 mile Napali Coast Trail.
This would be our second attempt at completing the Napali Coast Trail…
About 1.5 years ago we showed up a day after the storm that washed out the trail, including destroying homes, and requiring the military to helicopter rescue many people from the trail. This storm closed the Napali Coast Trail for about 15 months.
So, to say the least, we were excited to finally get on the trail!
On that cold day in Seattle (before heading to the airport) I received an email asking if I’d like to promote the Garmin Venu fitness watch. And having loved (and used) Garmin watches, I was stoked! So, after a quick bit of research to make sure it was a product I would use… I told them I was IN.
BUT there was a catch…
I would need the watch delivered to one of FOUR different places that I’d be staying during the trip to Hawaii (we were island hopping from the big Island, to Maui, and finally to Kauai).
It turns out, this was a logistical nightmare, but the opportunity to test the watch during all of this training, and the Napali Coast we too good to pass up.
Just to get the watch to me in Hawaii we had to change the shipping location 3 times, but (as you can see) I finally got my hand on the Garmin Venu, and put it to the test!
Unboxing the Garmin Venu
Garmin Venu Fitness Watch
Deal: $100 Off
Dates: 11/28 – 1/4
I will admit, when I agreed to promote this watch, I knew the screen was nicer than the Garmin watches I’d used in the past, but I wasn’t prepared for how pretty it really is. Oh, and, I had no idea it was a touchscreen. Actually, I didn’t even know that Garmin had touchscreen watches.
After unboxing the Venu, I strapped it on my wrist and was blown away!
You’ll probably hear me reference this a lot, but compared to the other Garmin watches that I’ve had, this watch is so pretty you just want to look at it. And here’s the thing, I usually don’t buy a watch for looks, but I want to use it more because it looks so nice.
From there I was prompted to open the Garmin Connect app, and found that the setup had been improved and streamlined (since setting up my last watch). Including walking me through setting up this really great feature that sends a message to your emergency contacts if you get into an accident. So cool!
From there it was time to put the Venu to the test. It looks good, but could it perform…
Running, weights, swimming, biking, and even relaxing, oh my!
Being in Hawaii in November is about the best training environment that I can imagine this time of year. Think 80 degrees, beautiful, and places to train everywhere (trails, ocean, pools, gyms, etc.).
Let’s go running!
So, I tilted to watch towards me, hit the upper button, tapped the Run activity, the GPS connected, and I was off!
I told you I would keep mentioning this… the running activity screen looked so nice that I kept checking it. Just to look at the screen. I know this sounds silly, but I’m being serious.
A 6+ mile trail and beach run along the Poipu coast was completed, and during the run, I noticed how light the watch is, along with it having a nice and thin form factor. Meaning it doesn’t feel like a brick sitting on my wrist.
Also, when I saved the running activity it showed my stats, including a line graph of the run that I completed. Nice stuff!
Onto the next training session…
Even though I was training for a longer trail run (the Napali Coast 22 miles), I still hit the weights, and CrossFit workouts hard, which keeps me durable and resilient on the trail.
And the next day was a hard weight lifting session that included the need to be very precise about rest and work times.
The Garmin Venu handled this with ease under the Strength activity, and even did a pretty good job at automatically counting my reps AND predicting which movements I was performing (once synced with the Connect app). This was unexpected, but cool.
The Napali Coast Trail Looming Closer
As the Napali Coast adventure loomed closer I became familiar with some of the other features of the Venu…
Water tracking – I believe that tracking water consumption is one of the most important things we can do for health, performance, and even weight loss. And for years I’ve used the Waterlogged app. But, no joke, I’ve made a change to using the Garmin Venu water tracking which syncs with the Garmin Connect app. It’s super easy, and (once again) looks nice.
Stopwatch – I use a stopwatch for all kinds of things, and having it on my watch is very helpful. But here’s the kicker… when you go to stop your stopwatch it asks if you want to add that time as an activity. Brilliant!
Stress monitor – This watch actually just told me to slow down and relax. I guess writing is a stressful activity for me. We all need this.
Notifications – So, I’ve always been a big fan of being disconnected, but I’ll admit that being able to read that text that just came in without having to find my phone was very nice.
Bonus for CrossFit Athletes – Garmin has the easiest way that I’ve found to create highly customized interval training session that you might do from a program like Aerobic Capacity. Just set them up on Garmin Connect, sync you watch, and you’re ready to rock. It takes you through the whole workout.
Ok, let’s get back to the story!
The Napali Coast Trail (gametime)
I had been training with the Garmin Venu for almost two weeks, and the date of our Napali Coast permit had arrived.
My alarm sounded at 5:15am, and I was ready! We (Emily, my girlfriend and I) put in all the training, and the Venu had been a very helpful part of that in the couple of weeks leading up to adventure day.
Packed up and ready, we drove the 1.5 hours from our Airbnb in Poipu to the Napali Coast trail head. Here’s what I brought for the run…
Garmin Venu GPS Watch – link
Salomon Running Vest
2 packs of Clif endurance blocks
5 packs of baby food
1 pack of Sour Patch candies
10 hours of salt tabs (20 tabs)
30 PerfectAmino tabs to prevent muscle wasting and speed recovery
1.75 liters of water
From the trail head we clipped on our packs, started our watches (Emily has a Garmin as well) and charged up the first rocky, slippery hill.
It looked like we were going to have a great day, it was a little windy, but the sun was breaking out of the clouds and we could see the amazing lush green mountains that dove into the white capped blue/green ocean.
But, it turns out fate wasn’t on our side…
At 1.5 miles into the run we came upon one of the park rangers… he stopped us and said he was closing the trail because the stream (about a half mile ahead) was too high to cross. WHAT?! No way?!
We were immediately discouraged. And wondering if we came all the way out to Hawaii (again) to have weather stop us from completing this trail.
That being said… the ranger didn’t tell us we needed to leave the trail. Nor did he specifically tell us NOT to cross the stream. So, not wanting to give up, we ran down to the stream to see for ourselves. And the stream was raging!
… on the way down to the stream we passed a couple of backpackers (headed up the trail) that said they were able to make it across the stream down by the ocean. And added that the crossing wan’t too bad.
With this new encouragement we climbed our way through the jungle, using tree roots to stabilize the way down a steep 10-15 drop, and finding a lower trail that led to the ocean (which was easily accessible when the stream was lower).
From there we took the trail (full of river rocks) out to the beach.
Due to the wind, the ocean waves were massive, at times driving waves all the way up the beach to the mouth of the stream (about 30 yards).
But..! With the right timing (on an outbound wave) it looked like the stream could be crossed right before it hit the ocean. And after a few minutes of watching the waves, we finally saw someone cross it! Only getting their shorts a little wet.
The channel that the stream made through the sand on it’s way to the ocean was about 3 feet deep, but your timing had to be just right… otherwise it was about a foot higher.
We really wanted to make this happen, but with the chance that the stream could actually get higher (if we crossed it) during the time we were doing the rest of the 18 mile run, we opted to not risk it. But we weren’t finished yet! Our next hope was that the ranger would allow us to move our permit to the following day.
We ran back out to the trail head to find the ranger, where he graciously said that because we were running out and back (not camping) he would honor our permit the following day if we wanted to come back.
So, although we were discouraged to be thwarted by the Napali Coast weather a second time, we weren’t done yet. We stopped our Garmin’s, having chalked up a 4-5 mile training run… and drove the 1.5 hours back to the Airbnb.
Attempt Number 3 (2nd of this trip)
Again, the alarm sounded at 5:15am and we made the long drive to the trail head (this time having to park 1 mile away due to weekend traffic).
We fired up our Garmin’s (me with the new Garmin Venu), and started moving from our parked car towards the trail.
I forgot to mention that as we were leaving the trail parking lot the day before, the parking attendant gave us a web address to check the depth of the stream online. This allowed us to get a pretty good idea of our stream crossing probability prior to making the long drove to the trail head.
When we check the water level website (after waking) the stream was about 2 feet lower than the previous day, and definitely crossable.
Everything looked great as we started the run. But that all changed even before we got to the trail head.
It started raining in sheets!
In fact, it was raining so hard that within minutes we were soaked down to our underwear! It was a classic tropical rain storm.
Our hope was that we could get to the stream (that stopped us the day before) before the rain raised it to an uncrossable height.
We charged forward and found the stream WAY lower than the previous day, and easily hopped from rock to rock, until we made it to the other side. The truth is, I’m not sure why we didn’t just walk through the stream as our shoes were already soaked…
As the rain poured down, and we had seen the weather in the area change so quickly (while on Kauai) that we hoped it would be short lived. But 2 hours later, and after hiking and running up and down trails covered in 4-6 inches of mud, it seemed like it might never stop.
During this time the Garmin Venu performed like a champ. Being water rated to 5 ATM, and still looking great and working great in the pouring rain.
At about 3 hours into the run…
And just before we reached (what they call) Crawlers Ledge the rain finally slowed down and the sun snuck out around the clouds to reveal the absolutely breathtaking shoreline all the way to the beach (where we were heading).
The rain and sun convergence also collaborated to create some of the most stunning rainbows I’ve ever seen!
With the sun quickly drying out the trail, we had a nice dry run the last 2 miles down to the beach (the end of the trail) where we spent 20 mins sitting on the rocks and taking in the scenery.
Unexpected Amazing Battery Life
During our time on the beach I took the opportunity to charge up my Garmin Venu (via external battery pack) because when I was researching the specs, they say it has up to 6 hours of battery life when using GPS and listening to music. The keyword that I missed when doing this research was “listening to music”. Yes, you can use Bluetooth to listen to music (like Spotify) while you’re training. BUT, what I missed (and am SUPER impressed by) is that the Garmin Venu has up to 20 hours of battery life when you’re not listening to music. 20 hours is a HUGE amount of GPS battery life!!! #impressed
The long and short of this is… WE MADE IT!!! And I guess the 3rd time is the charm!
Now we just had to make it back to our car in one piece. Did I mention that this trail was full of slippery red mud that (often times) led straight down a cliff to the ocean if you made a wrong step? Well, that would be true.
But, on a positive note… having the sun out helped to dry the treacherous slippery like ice red mud. And our trip back on the trail was much less slippery.
The trail was completely different without the down-pouring rain, and we were able to shave a few minutes off our return trip.
8 hours and 30 minutes after starting, with aching legs, and hungry stomachs, but full of gratitude, we reached the end of our journey (which was also where we started).
We were full of gratitude with (as my friend Jonathan Levitt would say) our stoke meters maxed out, not only for being able to persevere and run the trail, but also for the struggle that we had to go through to get it done.
After 2 failed attempts, and 1.5 years, we finally did it. And I was so excited to have been able to promote and document this experiment with Garmin, and their great new watch, the Venu!
A Full Conclusion
After completing this adventure, and testing out the Garmin Venu along the way… I can say with 100% certainty and enthusiasm that you should definitely run (or hike) the Napali Coast Trail, AND consider the Garmin Venu as your next fitness watch.
If you have any questions about the trail or watch, I’m happy to help out, and encourage you to add them to the comments section below. This allows everyone to see your thoughts.
Lastly, if you’re considering the Garmin Venu…
Click here for more information!
Garmin Venu Fitness Watch
Deal: $100 Off
Dates: 11/28 – 1/4
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