A few months ago, my beloved Garmin 910 finally went to Tech heaven. Over the past 6 years, we’ve had many many miles together. We’ve shared triumphs, pain, suffering and plenty of exhilaration together. But….at $150+ to fix, it just wasn’t worth saving her (him?). It wasn’t a big deal, as a lifelong athlete I can easily read my body and know my exact paces and efforts within a 3 minute range between “this is as fast as I can go without puking range” and “I’m running so slow it hurts to move range.” I had no races on my schedule, so for the past few months swims/bikes/run were happening sans GPS watch. It really wasn’t a big deal. But then in swoops my amazing sponsors at Trigger Point Performance Therapy https://www.tptherapy.com/, (YAY!) with a large discount for a brand new Garmin. SCORE!
After doing the research, I decided on the Garmin 920…that looong battery life was the clear cut winner. The box arrived late last night and first thing this morning, it’s on my wrist all set up and ready to go. The run session was an easy 3.5 mile loop around my neighborhood done at a 1 minute run/ 30 second walk. The only goal: keep my heart rate low and the run easy. I hit “enter” on the watch…and off we go. First minute starts and WOAH….do you see my new watch? Wow. It’s super light. Woah. Am I really running that slow? I can’t be running THAT slow. I better lay off those cookies. Why is my HR so high? Well of course it’s high…you’ve been eating to many cookies. And then…walk break for 30 seconds. 30 seconds goes by, 60 seconds, 90 seconds…what the heck, clearly this watch is broken! I stop the session and learn that I set the intervals for 1 minute run, 30 minute walk. Ok, no big deal. Re-set the watch. Then I learn that I hit a long distance PR of .25 mile at a 13:18 pace….and I’ve earned a SEVEN hour recovery window. WHAT! SEVEN hours to recover after running .25 miles?!?! Obviously we got this relationship off on the wrong foot. Did I forget to tell you that I’m an Ironman and an UltraRunner, who holds a 4 year degree in Exercise Physiology. Did I? Because seriously, my recovery time after running .25 miles at a 13:18 pace doesn’t take 7 hours! At this point, you and I are clearly not understanding each other.
Let’s try this new relationship again. Off we go for another run. Don’t look at the fancy screen. Don’t look at the screen. DON’T LOOK AT THE SCREEN. DAMN! I looked at the screen. I can’t be that slow. why am I so slow? my heart rate is already so high. it’s hot out. holy cow it’s hot out. why do I live in florida? how many miles did i run-only 1 mile! how many miles do I have left? 2.5 miles left?! that might as well be a marathon. WHY is it telling me i’m running so slow. i seriously have to lay off the cookies. and the ice cream. when is my next race? how many miles is it? it’s an ultra. good grief an ultra. i need to get my heart rate down if I’m going to run an ultra. why is my heart rate not going down…i can’t run any slower! and for the love of all things amazing WHY is florida so damn HOT. can we move to colorado? or alaska? This heart rate strap is trying to kill me. it’s trying to kill me! WHY is it so tight. I can’t breath. it’s so tight. Need air NOW.
And there it went on and on for another 30 minutes. All from simply looking down at the data screen. What is it about data that makes the average athlete go insane? Why can’t we just…run? Run fast. Run slow. Run easy. Run Hard. Learn to read the internal cues of your body. Enjoy the run and let your mind wander or focus, but leave that decision up to you and not the watch. Truth be told, I love the GPS watch and this Garmin 920 is amazing…and she’ll be saved for the harder workouts where the details truly are in the data. Where the details are in the data. For everything else, I plan on listening to the birds singing and to the internal cues that have allowed me to stay in the game and be a lifelong athlete. Cheers to the Rise, and the Fall, of the modern day GPS watch.