Thursday, September 03, 2009

Running update: In the 24s, but that's all I really know.

I mentioned that Bubba outdid himself dramatically in the birthday department this year by delivering not only a chest freezer (loving IT) and a perfect day at the beach, but also a new GPS watch for the upping of my yet-too-slow-to-be-calling-it-a-career running career.

Well, this morning's run was its debut, and while it was cool to be wearing a watch twice the width of my wrist (it's my fault - I requested this particular model knowing my chicken wrists would definitely be too freakishly small to fit it properly), complete with satisfying beeps, a multi-functioning bezel and an illusive Virtual Partner inside it's largish-small face, there were some snags.

I'm choosing to see those snags as Something I Learned By Doing Rather Than By Reading the Manual Like a Normal Human Girl rather than horrible run-ruining disasters.

I think you'll agree this is the healthiest approach.

Thing #1: There is no more beep and go.

See, in the olden days of my running life up until this morning, I would stagger out onto the porch in the wee hours of the morning, stretch my weary parts, roll the snapping out of my ankles, jam in the ear buds, reset the ol' Timex's Chrono to 00:00:00, hit the beeping button and go on my way.

Those days are no more.

This morning I went about all that and it was going fine until I got to the "reset the Chrono to 00:00:00" part. That's not a direct quote.

Yeah, this is when the watch said something unintelligible like, "Locating Satellites", and showed a progress bar moving not at all.

To which I said, out loud mind you, "Oh what the fuck."

And when it wouldn't let me just load the stopwatch prior to this alleged loading of satellites, I clicked around on that bezel until I made the watch dizzy and then somehow scrolled or beeped in the correct sequence of movements and the mythical 00:00:00 appeared.


Thinking myself something of a Knower and Sorcerer of all Technology, I beeped and went on my way. Feeling sort of like I was "getting it", which I most certainly was not.

I assumed that this time, like all the other two times I'd fucked with the watch, my pace would begin calculating and recalculating beneath the running chrono and the mileage would start compiling and by the time I got to my first sprint at minute 5, I'd be all up to date on what my starting pace was like and, hey!, I might know things like how far I can run in five minutes' time.

Hey, nothing.

Somehow I'd convinced the watch to begin its stopwatch prior to the mystical loading of satellites, so the pace and distance from the GPS didn't start tracking until I'd surpassed my first sprint, and so when I finally saw it running, it had my pace at a Supah Speedy 7:35.

People, I'll be the first one to tell you that I don't run a 7:35 mile. I just do not.

What I do do, however, is sprint like my anus is on fire during that first sprint at minute 5, so the loading of the satellites and my Minute of Sprinting glory managed to coincide nicely and allow me to believe, albeit briefly, that I'd improved magically during vacation despite the fact that I hadn't run a step in over a week.

Miracle that Maui Gold Pineapple, I tell you what.

Anyway, What I Learned By Doing here - let the satellites load unless you want your pace and distance all jacked up.

Thing #2: Lock the bezel.

This thing has a bezel that you use to scroll around through menus and choose things and make the light come on and what not. Basically, there's all these features that they probably couldn't make work through the systematic entry from, like, the normal four buttons on a watch, so they built in this bezel that you touch and rub and to which you whisper sweet nothings so that it'll produce your Virtual Partner, GPS location, the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything, etc. (42)

The problem is that if you even think about touching it, it will believe it has been touched and therefore begin destroying all the information it has just compiled.

For me this means that it will erase your pace and distance and restart the chrono.

Thankfully I didn't commit this act of technology terror until I'd completed my run and gone to take the watch off - first only looking at the time (Yay! Low 24s!) before I turned my wrist over to unshackle the band and heard the tell-tale BEEP of the bezel committing hari kari.

When I flipped my wrist back, the pace and distance where goners.


I mean, the distance isn't such a big deal. 3 miles is 3 miles. But the pace would have been nice to know. Even though the first five minutes wasn't computed due to the Locating of Certain Satellites and even though it might have held bad news (I'd like to be in the 9s because, you know, I aim high).

Next time though - and forevermore - I will hit the two buttons together to lock the bezel.

No more self-destructing data.

Thing #3: There's a Virtual Partner program.

Well, OK, that's all I know. It's in there. I've seen the picture on the box of the two little running people images running all next to each other with their paces displayed below and you have to, like, keep up with your VP or else you start to crouch down in unbelievable pain.

Or so goes the image.

Anyway, that's kinda all I know about it so far, because I was too afraid to press the buttons while I ran for obvious reasons, but I promise to figure out more of these things before too long so that I can come here and share some less than helpful Things I Learned for the time when you decide that requesting a technological device for which you don't have the brain capacity to comprehend for your birthday is an excellent idea.

I knew you'd be grateful.


  1. Just so much to think about!! Well I don't have virtual partners, but after telling myself, "move faster fat ass" I now have neighbors screaming that at me from lounge chairs in their yards. I consider them partners, or potential victims in a future arsonist spree.

  2. Does Bubba like reading instructions? I personally hate instructions and like to use your method of trial and error. My husband, however, is Mr. Instruction Man and will read all the instructions for me and tell me how to make things work without having to bore myself with a manual.

  3. Just reading that made me tense up. I would've thrown that thing in the lake.

    Me and technology--we're not buddies.

  4. Ok, now I'm thinking for my birthday, my brain capacity will allow my "run" to look like this: Well, it will take me too long to write it, but basically, go back and read your post until you get to the part that says "Oh what the fuck." Then, I'll go back inside, sit down, and enjoy a ding dong and hot tea while I watch the sunrise. Much easier, no??? In the meantime, I'll be enjoying reading about YOUR run!

  5. My husband has a GPS watch-runny-heartrate monitor-thingy that also has to find sattelites. He was outsmarted once upon a time and now he goes and lays it on the sidewalk while he gets dressed for the run and voila! no more waiting. Just a thought...

  6. See. I'm not sure I'm smart enough to own one of these. I really want one, though. AND I do worry about how ginormous it will be on my very own chicken wrist. Is it awkward for it to be like a whole laptop on your little wrist?

    I have a Nike+ thing that did not work the one and only time I used it. It said I ran 2 miles and it took like 42 minutes! I had run more than twice that distance! Then a friend said I needed to calibrate it on a track. (Haven't done it. I never track-run.)

    Keep us updated on it though. I'm curious if I *need* one, too.

  7. Oh great. Now I'm not only intimidated by your runningness but I'm intimidated by your watch. Nothing else to do but console myself with a cookie.

  8. I used to write user manuals, and if by "normal" you mean "standard human behavior," then it is normal NOT to read the manual first. Also, I think we need a pic of giant watch on chicken wrist. (I'm new to your blog and am enjoying it very much! And I'm jealous of your chest freezer.)

  9. I think I'll wait until you sort out all the technological glitches before I purchase one of these thingies. I keep screwing up my low-tech pedometer so imagine what I could do to something as complicated as your GPS watch. It's so nice to have friends sort out the issues for you (LOL).

  10. My husband and I both run. Never together because he is way faster than me and we have kids so one of us should stay at the house so they're not stranded. But we realllllly want one of these things for Christmas for us both to use. And now I'm scared. Maybe between now and December you can figure it out and keep blogging about it so I'll already know how to run the thing by the time it gets here.

    p.s. thanks so much for the advice about the pace groups. you were right - I started out following them and ditched them very quickly, they stressed me out. I ended up being only 2 min over my goal time, so I was pretty happy about that.

  11. Jeez, I have been begging for a freezer, too. I thought I was the only one. Congrats!


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