Sunday, August 16, 2009

Charmin Garmin

Guess who got a Garmin. A factory refurbished 205 from Amazon for $120.40. It came on Friday.

I broke down and bought one because I need to zero in on a 9:00 M/M pace for when I'm the 1:30 pacesetter for the Army Ten-Miler Race in seven weeks.

I used it on Saturday, and now I know I went 7.1 miles on my training group's supposed 7-mile run. (I create the route.) Some folks got a little lost and went 7.6 miles. They were pissed when they got back, like it was my fault. But what's an extra half mile anyway?

Even the folks who didn't get lost were grumbling though. What's an extra one tenth of a mile? They all have Garmin's so they all know exactly how far we go. More than one came over to me afterwards and said, "You said we were doing seven today. We went 7.1!"

I told them to stop at the end of the block next time, before they reach the finish point, as soon as their Garmins chime.

What's 500 extra feet? Excuse me, 520 extra feet. These are new runners, for the most part.

This morning at 7:30 I went to Fleet Feet in the District to do a 7-mile route in Rock Creek Park with Sasha's training group. That group was late in getting going, so I said I was leaving and that anyone who wanted to do 8:30s could come with me. I had no takers so I ran alone, ahead of the pack.

Sasha had devised kind of a complicated route but I thought I knew it. Run 3 miles north up 16th Street from Adams Morgan, drop into Rock Creek Park by Carter Barron Amphitheatre and double back south towards Fleet Feet again. How hard could it be?

My Garmin kept me occupied on this solo run. Sometimes it showed my pace to be 8:10, then a few seconds later it would tell me my pace was 9:40. I think I need to read the directions. But I enjoyed watching the mileage tick off. When my Garmin got to 6.5 miles, and I didn't see anything I recognized in Rock Creek Park, I exited the park and got into some residential streets I didn't recognize. The route was supposed to be 7 miles so at 6.5 miles, I figured I had to be near Adams Morgan. I asked some suburbanites I encountered how to get to Adams Morgan from there. They looked astonished.

"Uhh, you're in Maryland. Adams Morgan is, like, six miles from here."

I had been running north in Rock Creek Park the whole time, instead of turning back south in the park. I was terribly lost and now I was in a confusing complex of suburban cul-de-sacs in Chevy Chase. That's a long way on foot from Adams Morgan.

I am thankful for my Garmin though. It told me I only had a half-mile to go and when I absolutely didn't recognize a thing, even though I'm a guy, I asked for directions.

It was the most lost I have ever been on a run.

But I did my seven, in 1:01:21 (8:46), not too bad. I took a taxicab back to Fleet Feet.


DawnB said...

congrats on the Garmin its a quick learn. so did you get lost because you were playing to much with Garmi?:) nice job getting back to Fleet Fleet

Kelly said...

A runner's first garmin... what a monumental moment. Too bad the Garmin can't act as a GPS also!

jeanne said...

ha! that's a great story. must be great to see your coach getting out of a cab at the end of your training run!

for new runners, i can speak from personal experience that .1 mile can seem like a lot extra! still, they should learn how to deal!

the garmin sounds fun. one of these days, i'm gonna break down and get one. maybe.

Anne said...

I sometimes wonder if we aren't becoming a running nation divided by the GPS devotees and those of us who wish to remain blissfully rounded.

Sunshine said...

Six miles in the wrong direction?! Maybe you need more help than a Garmin, unless, of course, you were just going for a great story.

Just_because_today said...

Garmins are not extremely accurate. Our Celebrate Life Half Marathon course is measured and certified by the most anal USATF person (I use that term dearly in his case) yet many people with garmins annoyed us telling us it was long...
So the pace kept changing...maybe it wasn't refurbished too well?

ShirleyPerly said...

My older Garmin FR 201, which I rarely wore, often fluctuated paces but my newer FR 305 is pretty steady so perhaps the speed tracking has been improved. All Garmins, I think, also have a Navigation feature that allows you to see your route on a map. Some of the better (more expensive) ones even have a "Go Home" feature that will direct you back to where you started.

Rainmaker said...

Funny...I thought I need to give ya a lesson it it. ;)

Oh - and for the comment about being accurate. The problem isn't the's actually the runners. Most runners run courses long as courses are measured corner to corner (shortest line possible), but most people run per the herd, so it's normal for normal folks to run a fair bit longer than the course.