Wherein I question the omnipotence of Garmin while providing a One Mile Virtual Race Report.
If there is one thing I have taken for granted, it is the infallibility of Garmin (praise be thy name). In fact, when saying or typing “Garmin” (praise be thy name) you’ll notice that I often include ‘praise be thy name’ afterwards. Re-read the first two sentences if you suffer from poor attention span. You’ll see this in action twice. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Moving on. I bring this up as, you might expect, I’ve had reason recently to question Garmin (p.b.t.n). It pains me to say it but here are two examples within the past few runs.
Here I am merrily running along on a scheduled 9 miler last Thursday. Periodically, I glance down at Garmin (p.b.t.n) to see if somehow I’ve transcended time or, at least, to take note of pace. At some point, I was at 3.13 miles. A few minutes later, I glance down again but now my distance is at 2.84 miles?? That’s odd. I’ve actually run backwards in time. At first, I’m thinking this is pretty cool. Like Marty McFly, maybe I’ll end up seeing myself take off on this run and can warn myself to avoid the swarm of gnats that I sucked down my throat. Next, I thought, maybe Garmin(p.b.t.n.) is punishing me for my relaxed pace and I should pick it up a bit.
As I kept running, I noticed the distance going down steadily until 2.00 miles and then it started over at 2.99 miles and counted backwards again. I’m pretty sure the distance is supposed to go UP as you run even if you run backwards, which I rarely do anyhow.*
I put the little fella on the charger when I got home and chalked it up as a fluke. He might have been a little tired. Sometimes we runners forget that training can be difficult on personal global positioning systems as well.
The next occurrence of potential Garmin(p.b.t.n) fallibility occurred this past Tuesday evening as I decided to incorporate Reid’s Virtual One Mile Race challenge into my scheduled 5 miler. After a 1 ¾ mile warm-up to the local high school track, I marked my starting time and distance with the Lap button and took off for 4 laps. Everything I see and read tells me that 4 laps roughly equal 1 mile. In fact, if anything, one true mile might actually be a few steps past the 4 lap mark.
I’m cruising along feeling real good. I had no expectations going into this one mile virtual race so I was feeling loose and relaxed. I thought I’d come in around 5:30 minutes for the mile. Garmin(p.b.t.n.) surprises me by beeping as I’m entering the last turn about 100 meters from my lap line which is just outside of this turn. That’s odd. Again, I’m wondering what is up here. I ran in Lane 1 along the inside painted line so, really, I couldn’t have added much extra distance to each lap.
The time? 5:16.
Now, I’m thrilled if that is the actual time. Garmin (p.b.t.n.) says it is so. My basic knowledge of a standard track tells me I needed to complete 4 full laps though.
I tried to take a picture of my Garmin(p.b.t.n.) display – along with my favorite ice cube** – but haven’t mastered the finer points of Garmin (p.b.t.n.) photography. It wouldn’t develop clearly.
So, I’m tentatively reporting a mile of 5:16 according to my expensive, normally infallible g.p.s. device. However, my unofficial 4 lap track time was closer to 5:35.
I think I’ll need to try this challenge again to see what Garmin(p.b.t.n.) decrees the next time.
If I can’t trust Garmin(p.b.t.n.), who can I trust?
* Incidentally, is anyone else annoyed by the scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where the wacky kids decided to “roll back” the odometer on the rich kid’s dad’s car by putting the car in reverse with a block on the gas pedal. Eventually, the car bursts through the back of the garage to its destruction. Before that, however, the crazy kids are surprised to see that after supposedly an hour of trying not one mile rolled back. In fact, the miles were rolling ahead. Did anyone think to verify what was happening with the odometer before, like, an HOUR went by? Stupid kids.
** I’ve had this ice cube for years and it’s really adorable. I wanted to get a photo of it for all of you to see but, now that I think of it, did I get it back in the freezer?