Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One more Garmin post

Okay, I swear I am not going to write about every time I use my Garmin. But I am going through a learning process, and I really want to share my experiences with other Garmin newbies who might be out there. Or, well, vent.

The plan today was to do a typical 6+ mile Wednesday run with speedwork (my own kind of speedwork). To best use the Garmin, at my level of understanding, I felt one-mile increments would be best. So I would run two miles to warm up, then alternate a mile at a faster pace, a mile at a slower pace, and repeat, until I was home.

First two miles went as planned. Mile 1—11+ minutes (something about getting out the door). Mile 2—10+ minutes (as expected).

Now, this is the point where I am supposed to kick myself into a higher gear, right?

Uh, yeah.

Just as Mile 3 began ticking away, my jacket sleeve brushed against the Garmin bezel and sent it into searching for satellite mode. As I am trying to fix this (standing still, of course), I manage to turn off GPS. So back in to turn it back on. Finally good to go again, I turn on the timer (thinking it had been paused before) and took off.

I felt good, I really did. I thought I could be approaching a race-type pace. I expected a pretty low number when Mile 3 ended.

And it was 11:30. WTF???? (Honestly, that was my reaction. Without the initials.)

Obviously (it quickly became clear to me) I had not actually paused the timer while I was "fixing" it. The clock continued to run while I was standing on the sidewalk. Completely screwing up my time for the mile.

Nothing to be done. I launched into the planned subsequent "easy mile." (Which took less than ten and a half minutes, clearly proving that something had gone wrong in the last mile.) While I was jogging, though, I decided that I would do the next two miles at an accelerated pace, instead of just one, thereby closer emulating race conditions. Also that would take me to six miles, and then I could just slow down the rest of the way home.

As Mile 4 ended and I launched Mile 5, I picked up the pace again. I didn't feel quite as flowing as I did in the eleven and a half minute mile, but I was doing okay. As I approached 23rd Street on Colby, I saw that the light was green in my direction which would allow me to cross without delay. I'm booking along when suddenly I tripped on the sidewalk and flew into the air (perhaps flew is a slight exaggeration—lunged?). I feared another knee scraping fall (and a disruption of my pace), but "luckily" I managed to run into a sidewalk sign advertising cigarettes, and grabbed it to catch my balance. Meanwhile the light changed to red. So I turned down the side street rather than stop at the light, then doubled back to cross.

The rest of that mile actually passed without further incident—I had to do another diversion while I waited for the light at Everett Avenue, but that worked okay—and I finished at 9:30 (minutes, not a.m.).

Then I went right into Mile 6, my final "fast" mile. Here I had a bit of an advantage, because most of the route is slightly downhill (the perfect degree for speed without danger). My only concern was that the lights along the way would hold me back. I also wanted to finish Mile 6 before I got to the big light on Broadway, because there's no avoiding a wait there, except under the most fortuitous of circumstances. So several times along Everett Avenue I turned down a side street and ran a block down and back, adding the extra mileage to my tally. I thought I might hit six miles just at Broadway, but I over-added and ended up finishing shortly before the intersection. Good enough.

My time? 8:57.

So what do I think of that? Well, it's a lot faster than I normally go in the mornings. But it's quite a bit slower than race pace, and in fact, is about the pace I would like to do in the Anacortes Half-Marathon. So multiply that last mile by 13.1... and I wonder how I do it. But I do. Somehow in the races I am able to run faster, and sustain the pace for longer, than I ever can on my own. (I know this is not unique to me.)

So in a way I just have to have faith that I can do it, and believe that sub-10 minute miles are speedwork, even if they are rather less speedy than I want to be.

As for the rest of the run... I paused the timer for the light, and continued running the rest of the way home at what turned out to be a 10:30 pace. For another .68 mile. Meaning the total run was about half a mile longer than a typical weekday run. Meaning I got home about five minutes later than usual. And got to work at about...five minutes past nine.

Oh well, what's more important, a good morning run or a prompt arrival for court? (Luckily, I didn't have any hearings at 9:00 so that question need not be

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