Jamaican Usian Bolt won the men’s 100 meters yesterday at the Berlin World Championships in 9.58. He bested the previous world record – which he also held from the 2008 Olympics – by 0.11 seconds. In other words, it was 9.69. Um, does anyone notice anything weird about that PR? Like, maybe, the first digit is still 9? My current 5k PR is 18:22. I’m pretty sure that if I ran an 18:21.99 in my next 5k, I wouldn’t mark it as a PR.* At the very least, I wouldn’t dance around hugging my teammate in some sort of homoerotic lovefest ala Rocky and Apollo Creed splashing around in the water in Rocky III.
Hey everyone, look at me, barely faster than I was before!
Mr. Bolt might have “”shattered” the world record – if we define “shattered” as the amount of time it takes to blink – but has he ever out run a mechanical device? I did. I win.
Maybe the back drop wasn’t as dramatic as the Berlin Olympic Stadium, where Jesse Owens became legendary, but the feat was considerably greater. Me (shirtless, obviously). Garmin (p.b.t.n) Mano-a-machino. 90 degrees. Humidity. A belly full of Fla-Vor-Ice Pops. Nine planned miles. Bring the pain.
I’m not going to lie. Three miles in, I was already drenched in sweat and thinking about cutting this run short. Garmin (p.b.t.n.) was still ticking along seemingly impervious to the heat. Damn, I could go for a Fla-Vor-Ice. Grape, preferably. In this heat, it would melt quite a bit leaving at least an inch worth of delicious grape ice residue liquid to slurp up from the bottom (and leave me with one of those delightful, throat chocking coughs as the syrup wrapped around my tonsils.)
Four and half miles in, I stopped for 30 seconds to catch my breath and drag my already wet wrist band all over my forehead and rippled torso. I distinctly recall a sound like an ascending xylophone scale as the wrist band bounded over my six pack abs. I was one can of Dr. Pepper and one video camera away from making a very sexy Dr. Pepper commercial. Pepsico’s loss.
Determined to beat Garmin(p.b.t.n.), I marshaled on. By 5 miles, the impossible happened. Garmin (p.b.t.n.) started to show some signs of wear. The pace per mile display showed dash lines and stopped registering a reading. Under the sun, I picked up the pace. It was breaking time.
Before 5.5 miles, the Garmin (p.b.t.n.), metal gears, springs, coils, and a little bit of magic, stopped recording miles. I ran down the sidewalk checking my wrist every 30 seconds or so to see if it was true, The mileage was frozen: 5.54 miles. 5.54 miles. 5.54 miles. It read the same every time. I ran another mile and half home. 5.54 miles. Dummy, I went farther than that, I mocked.
I had won. I had beaten Garmin (p.b.t.n.) Usain Bolt can have his barely measurable PR. I’m an endurance runner. I shit out 100 meters like a trail of bunny droppings. And I just out ran a mechanical device designed for tracking long distances. (Would it even be able to measure 100 meters for Bolt? Or would Garmin laugh and turn itself off?) It wilted in the evening sun. The notoriously infallible Garmin (p.b.t.n.) failed. My human body, made of tissue, bones, taunt muscle, and a face full of cute, continued on.
Sure, I ended up quitting after 7 miles. No need to kill myself in this heat right? Besides the battle had been won.
I didn’t bother to notify the networks. Let Mr. Bolt have his day. Congratulations, your PR moved from 9 something to 9 something. Great job, I guess. I’ll just sit here in anonymity and enjoy that Fla-Vor-Ice, the champagne of popsicle treats.
But, next time, how ‘bout you just let us know when your PR changes to 8 something, at least, m’kay?
* Who am I kidding? I would round that down to 18:21 and totally count it.
7 miles @ 7:05 pace. An ugly, dehydrated run.