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Monday, March 8, 2010

Damn you, Garmin.

So, I bought myself a Garmin (finally) for my birthday this year. So far, I love it! I love being able to know immediately when I'm done with a run how far I went. I love being able to plug it in upload my runs easily and quickly.

I resisted one for so long. I always considered myself a low maintenance runner... I didn't need no stinking computer on my wrist.

But, I finally caved and decided that it would be useful and might help me become a better runner.

Now... I'm not so sure...

Here's the story...

6:30am Saturday morning. My running partner C and I head out for a 16+ long run (basically a name your own distance route) with the Nashville Striders. It's a cool morning, but the sun is out and though the route is hilly (hillier than I remember), we start off with a decent little pace. Initially, I felt like shit. My sinuses had been acting up all week and I knew it was only a matter of time before I came down with an actual cold. But, I was determined to get this long run in (especially since the last one was a huge FAIL). I was hoping that C would keep me at a reasonable pace for the first half (she was quitting at 8 miles) and then maybe I could try to negative split the last half of the run.

By mile 6, C and I had picked up another girl I had met on previous training runs and while they chatted away, I kept looking at my watch thinking oh my god, I'm going to have to be left for dead out here today. Our pace was consistently under 10 and most of the time under 9:30 when I looked.

I kept expressing my interest to slow down. And the girls agreed. We all knew we were running way too fast, particularly because the route back was hillier than the route out. We tried slowing down. And it never worked. NEVER. How does that happen? How do you try to slow down and you don't???

By the time C left us, we cruised to a 9:17 9th mile. (It was probably one of the flattest parts of the course, though). I could feel the crash coming. We took a little another little route that tacked on about a mile and a half and there were some short, but steep hills and it was then that I realized I was just going to have to stop and walk and try to convince my new friend to go on without me. For whatever reason, I couldn't slow down with her. She was sweet and was letting me control the pace, but I just couldn't. I was looking for 10:15/10:30 and the most we were getting was 9:45. I was constantly checking my garmin. Trying to gauge the pace.

We made it to the last water stop and I had to urge her to go on. I know she didn't want to run alone and she stuck around with me as long as she possibly could... but I just couldn't do it. Finally, she went on (and I'm sure sped up to her regular pace) and I walked a bit and then started back and was able to settle into a slower pace.

But the damage had already been done. Towards the end, a couple of friends that had started late caught up with me... I ran with them a little bit (both of them run faster than me) and one of them said she was going to stop and walk soon and the other said... "I'll just stick with you, feels like you've got a good pace going." I looked down at my watch... 9:44. "haha." I replied... knowing that I wouldnt be able to maintain that pace. Eventually I stopped for a walk break and they continued on. I started back up to a slower run and eventually caught up with the one who stopped and walked and we walked the last 1.5 miles together.

My question is this... Was it all just psychosomatic? Like... was I feeling so shitty, cause I knew that my pace was faster than it should have been and therefore I assumed I'd feel like shit? How would the last half of the run felt if I hadn't had my garmin on? If I hadn't known what the pace was? Maybe, if I hadn't known how fast I was actually running, I would have felt better? Maybe I would have been able to maintain the sub 10s for the rest of the run (well, until the last couple miles, cause they are HILLY).

Maybe I should change the screen on my garmin for long runs... to not tell me the pace.

In any case the run SUCKED. I ended up getting wayyy sicker on Saturday afternoon and spent the rest of the night and the next day feeling like ass and in bed as much as possible.  I can't blame garmin for all that.... but I do think I would have felt a little bit better on the run, had I not known what my pace was at any given second.

Here are my splits... could I have kept the sub 10 pace if I hadn't been wearing the garmin?? Hmmm....
Mile 1 9:50
Mile 2 9:31
Mile 3 9:09
Mile 4 9:28
Mile 5 9:52
Mile 6 9:22
Mile 7 9:25
Mile 8 9:22
Mile 9 9:17
Mile 10 9:39
Mile 11 9:49
Mile 12 10:14
Mile 13 10:50
Mile 14 11:59
Mile 15 12:09
Mile 16 12:38
Mile 17 14:39
Last .56 8:47.58 (15:43 pace).


Jason said...

I think a lot of it is in your head. I play the same game with my garmin from time to time. Would you have even known that you were running that fast if you didn't have it on? Probably not. I'm just sayin...

Karen said...

Interesting thought... I kind of would think it might be in your head. Without the garmin you probably would have kept plugging away at what you thought was a comfortable pace. Makes you wonder...

Chris said...

I don't know, butI think it was the hills.

I avg'd 8:20 to the Dam and 8:45 on the way back, with a few over 9:00. I could tell the difference on the back leg of the out/back.

Anonymous said...

I ran with a pacer the first time I broke 22:30 in a 5k and she let me hit my lap timer at each of the mile first two mile markers but made me promise I wouldn't look at what the mile had been. I looked at the 3rd mile time, which was okay w/ only .1 to go, but b/c of my watch set-up, I was able to see my third mile split w/o seeing my total time (which is displayed but much smaller and harder to read). It ended up being an amazing race but my coach was certain I wouldn't have done it if I'd known how much faster than expected miles 1 and 2 were. Long story to say, I think you may be right. Ignorance is bliss?

Tanya said...

The Garmin is evil. EVIL I say! In my infinite wisdom, I recommend avoiding it at all costs.

johnking said...

garmins are like midgets, you either love them or you hate them. I have a cousin who is a midget, so technically I have to love her but she also has a disability and uses the states money for buying weed so I hate that aspect that she wastes her money. overall, I like my garmin though.

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mrs. darling said...

freaking heck, i have the SAME PROBLEM. it's the garmin. it took me a good nine months running with my garmin before i stopped being obsessed with my pace. if i saw i was running faster than normal (like you did) i would convince myself of how TIRED i was and surely i would crash...and then i would. i've finally got it to where i ignore the pace on my garmin and let my body determine the speed.

i love my garmin, but dude, it messes with my head.

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