I got a Garmin for my birthday. The 405, for the sake of specifics.
I’ve always wanted a running watch, but for a large portion of my running career (okay, running hobby) they were really expensive. And really big. I recall a friend of mine flashing hers at me and it looked like a small satellite had been attached to her arm. In fact, I’m pretty sure that watch is currently exploring Mars right now.
Back in 2010, during the first round of marathoning, I noticed that those watches were starting to look more like watches over possible Mars Rovers. But I dithered. This is because:
- They are still kind of pricey.
- They would tell me, with all certainty, that I am a very slow runner.
I’ve never hidden my low running talent. The best compliment I’ve ever gotten around this is: “You’re built for distance, not for speed.” I never really tested the theory out and pretty much avoided things like running logs because it meant I had to write down time. Time is all irrelevant, surely. It’s all about finishing, right? RIGHT?
Regardless, I still coveted the idea. Finally, on the 35st year of my existence, the watch appeared. I instantly set about reading the instruction manual and then performing all set-up tasks wrong. For example, I set my VRP (Virtual Running Partner) at a 9:00 minute mile. So, on my first run the little icon person who was supposed to be running with me flew off the screen, never to be seen again.
Through accident, or perhaps mercy on behalf of the Garmin, I left that screen and was faced instead with a distance and lap counter of my own. I cheered my faster miles, and kicked myself on the slower miles. When I finished I was happy and determined to get the watch to work the way I wanted it to.
First thing I did was set the VRP to being about 15 seconds faster then me for average pace. This way I wouldn’t be faced with the usual humiliation that I can get live at 5K races of watching a crowd race away, and work on getting faster.
Second, I learned how to set up biking mode. Since I bike commute I figured it would be nice to know how long it takes me to get in and out every day. I had to spend a lot of time taking the VRP biker down a notch, as he/she/it doesn’t understand that in Oxford bikers are pretty much a moving sport target for buses and pedestrians. You can’t ride at 15 MPH consistently without some person wandering off the pavement into your path.
For a week I dutifully logged every run and every bike ride. And you know what? I found out that in an average week I run and ride a total of 47 miles.
I had no idea I logged that much as an AVERAGE PER WEEK. It’s only set to climb with marathon training.
What did I learn?
I AM built for distance, not for speed. I have actual fancy-schmancy data to prove this. I’m also feeling incredibly green right now. Like forest green. I’m my own carbon offsetting facility. I could sell off my mileage as carbon offsetting. There we go! Donate to me, I’ll make you feel good about the Earth!
Now, if you don’t mind me, I’m going to go clock close to 200 miles in training and general exercise this month.