Wednesday, January 5, 2011

GPS hell

I know that I could run without my Garmin, I just know I wouldn't be able to obsess over every detail of each run — and what would be the fun in that?

Today I was scheduled to run in to town and do the Wednesday DART run, 6.3 miles. Since that 6.3 mile loop would be a tempo run — a fast-paced run designed to improve speed and stamina, I wanted to record it separately on my GPS trainer, so that I could track those miles separately from my warm-up and cool-down miles.

For some reason, when I arrived at the meeting point after a 1.3 mile warm-up, I forgot to stop my timer. Then when me, Mark, and Rodney started on our run, I tried and failed to reset it because it was still running. That means my GPS lumped the warmup together with the tempo run. No big deal, I thought, I run this route all the time.

But the three of us started off at an unusually fast pace. For reasons noted above, I don't have a split for the first mile, but mile 2 (really mile .7 to mile 1.7) was a brisk 7:36, despite the fact that it included a good-sized hill. Mile 3 was even faster, at 7:23. Mile 4 was 7:30. Mile 5, again due to the fact that I didn't reset my timer, was a solid uphill stretch, a 115-foot climb. If we could keep this time under 8 minutes, we'd really have something going. We did it in 7:50. Mile 6, with another good-sized hill, was 7:45. I don't have a split for the rest of the run, but Mark told me he did it in 6:40. I think he just meant that final .3 miles, when we were making a mad dash for the finish.

According to Mark's Garmin, he finished in 47:48 over 6.3 miles. I was about 2 seconds behind him. Mark's average pace for the run was 7:34. That's definitely the best I've ever done on this route, and I don't have a good recording of it. Alas! But here you can see the plot I did manage to record, with my slow 3-minute break at the meeting point. After the run, we joined Chad for coffee. Chad's still recovering from a stress fracture, and was heading out for a 4 mile walk. I walked about a half-mile with him and then ran the rest of the way home, completing my Garmin nightmare by adding that last .8 miles onto the end of the already-mangled recording.


  1. Dave, my times were as follows (note that my mile starts at the Village Green on Concord); 7:36, 7:38, 7:27, 7:43, 7:46. 7:43 would be the mile from when we're exiting Davidson Wood until we get to the top of the hill on Robert Walker. It was a pretty fast run.

  2. Thanks! Any way you slice it, we were cruising! Good run!

  3. Okay, just to geek out a little more (since Rodney has a slightly different route and didn't run the last mile with us), here's my reconstruction of the run based on my reading from the player on the Garmin website:

    1: 7:13
    2: 7:49
    3: 7:19
    4: 7:46
    5: 7:40
    6: 7:30
    final .32: 2:26, or roughly a 7:00 pace

    That works out to an overall 7:33 pace, which agrees fairly well with Mark's GPS.