Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When Your GPS Is An A$$hole

I felt like I was working. W-O-R-K-I-N-G. When I looked down at my Garmin 220, though, the effort was not matching the pace. It was showing 9:15, 9:30, and I was sure I was going a minute faster.

Beep. Beep beep. Beep beep beep.

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A symphony of dings went off as we headed toward the baseball diamonds at Foster Park during the JP Jones 10K on Sunday, indicating one mile was done. My watch didn't beep until 20 seconds later.

I wasn't running close enough to anyone during the remaining miles to know how my laps matched with others but by the end of the 10K, which measured correctly for every one, my Garmin read 5.99.

"It happens," I thought, apparently during any 10K I run this summer. (My watch was ridiculously off when I set my PR in August.)

On Tuesday, I headed out for a steady-state workout: 2-mile warm-up, 4 miles at marathon pace (8:50) and 1-mile cool down.

I was mindful to start slow, and I kept any eye on the Garmin to make sure I was in the right spot. And I was. I hit the first mile in 9:41 and the second in 9:42. Perfect.

But as I hit the goal pace miles, things just seemed off. Again, pace was not matching effort. The first mile was 9:11 but maybe my legs were still recovering from a tough weekend. I might have to work harder, I thought. So I did. The second MP mile came in at 8:46.

"OK, better," I thought. "It's fine.

The third mile was 9:30, and I knew that wasn't right. It had to be the watch, not me. Not my legs. Not my fitness. It was the mother effing Garmin.

So here's what I did:

I screamed. (OK, maybe not.)

I took an extra moment at a stop light to collect myself and make a resolution: run hard and do my best.

I connected with the greenway, which has quarter-mile markers. I made a mental not of where I was according to the Garmin and tracked it for the next mile. It was off by 0.07.

I was right! Time to celebrate! It helped that I was finished with the marathon pace miles.

I ran until the watch said I hit the full distance. I knew the watch was off but I wanted to be certain that my workout was done. Lo and behold, after I mapped it on two sites, I had been done a half-mile earlier.

I uploaded my data via bluetooth immediately after getting in the car so I could know I was right again.

When I got home, I looked for software updates and plugged in the watch via USB cable to my computer. I find if I've gone too long doing so that it can cause errors. Again, it's the watch and not me.

I basked in the knowledge that I ran the 7.4 miles at an 8:39 pace, which should sub out nicely for a workout I planned on doing later in the week: 2-mile WU, 4 x 1.5 miles at half marathon pace with 2 minutes rest, and 1-mile CD.

Other things to do:

Write furious public messages to Garmin on your social media accounts.

Know mile landmarks on your regular routes to compare to the GPS mileage if you think things are off.

Run on effort, not readout. It might help you avoid running too fast/like a jerk as I did.

Roll with it. Once upon a time, people ran without Garmins. The horror!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weekly Training Update: 9/8-9/14

Last week, I was down. This week ... I was up.

I was a bit nervous about what running would feel like after taking time off and doing just easy runs when I was sick the previous week. I was a bit stiff at first but thankfully, my legs remembered how to move.

The good: Tami pushed the pace on our Tuesday run, and I had to hang on. It was tough. When I clicked stop on the Garmin, though, I was so grateful that she had. It was a good confidence boost going into the week.

The better: Cooler temperatures! Fall arrived this week, and it made running that much better. I really appreciate and enjoy this time of year. The only downside are the falling acorns and walnuts can cause some footing (and ankle twisting issues) if you aren't paying attention.

The best: Back on the bike! I was feeling guilty that I haven't been on my bike enough to justify buying it so I made up for it with two rides.

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The week, in training:

Monday, Sept. 8
CYCLE | 9.8 miles
Time: 45:30     Pace: 12.9 mph
We had a system shutdown at work so I brought my bike and rode for part of it. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and it felt nice to be on the bike.

Tuesday, Sept. 9
RUN | 6 miles
Time: 54:24     Pace: 9:04

Wednesday, Sept. 10
CYCLE | 8.5 miles
Time: 41:00     Pace: 12.4 mph

Thursday, Sept. 11
RUN | 8.5 miles
Time: 1:16:29     Pace: 8:59
Workout: 8 x 1000m at 10K pace (8:20) with 200m recovery

While this wasn't the smoothest of interval outings, I got it done. Dropped my key during the first, and I had an untied shoe in the third. For the fifth, I had an obnoxious head wind that stopped me in my tracks ... but I failed to stop the Garmin. Le sigh. I ended up trying to switch directions to avoid running into the wind.  Interval paces: 7:54, 7:53, 7:48, 8:07, 8:28 (forgot to stop Garmin), 8:08, 8:12, 8:06

CROSS TRAIN | Boot camp

Friday, Sept. 12
REST 

Saturday, Sept. 13
RUN | 10 miles
Time: 1:33:43     Pace: 9:22

Sunday, Sept. 14
RUN | JP Jones 10K + 1.5-mile WU
Time: 53:08     Pace: 8:34
Read more here.