When it is OK to Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Kristen gave me a Garmin 405 for my birthday. It is every serious runner’s dream. I get elevation (gain and loss), heart rate (high and average), and a mile by mile breakdown as to pace. These are things my pedometer could never give. All would be joy but the Garmin comes with one rather unhappy element, the truth.

It seems that my pedometer is amiss. Now I have calibrated it on a number of occasions and by various methods. I have actually measured routes by car and Google maps. I have worn the watch to see how it compared to races, a number of 10Ks and one half-marathon. I have worn it on treadmills. Unless I misread the pedometer in the last half-marathon, it was accurate within two tenths of a mile on a 13.1 mile run (I convinced myself it read 13.3). But now I am beginning to doubt even that as either an aberation or me reading what I wanted because I was in denial. The culprit was probably a battery change some 14 months ago that caused me to reenter my profile. Stride must be off. Way off.

So here is the truth. My 8:45 miles in my 21 mile run were probably closer to 9:15 in a 19.5 mile run. The distance would not have adversely impacted my last marathon. The longest training run is 20 miles anyway. However, trying to run an 8:45 pace when you have trained for 9:15 or more is extremely difficult for a novice. And when you run the first two miles at 8:00 you have probably doomed the outcome.

Consolation? The result wasn’t that far off my actual training pace. Heat and hills easily account for the difference. But it is little consolation. Very little. Darn Garmin tells the truth. T.S. Eliot once said (as did the probably better known Col. Nathan R. Jessup) that we can only handle so much of the truth. Thanks to Garmin I have had my fill.

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