Friday, November 19, 2010

I pre-emptively blame the Garmin for my personal failings.

Hey, remember when I said that I was going to CRAZY PART ALERT try to program my Garmin to beep me through my fartlek workout so that I wouldn't have to strain my eyeballs looking down every two seconds to see when I could stop sprinting and start throwing up?

You remember.

Well, MIRACLE, I did it. Program the watch, mind you. I did not, however, throw up - even though I got mighty close a few times.

Running at a pace that most runners find to be normal makes me nauseous, can you believe? Yes, this is because I'm very slow.

Anyway, whatever, I triumphed over the Garmin and forced it to do my bidding by acting out one of its main functions - intervals.


So, you see, when I got this watch, I basically charged it up and then ran out the door, knowing only how to set the display so I could watch my pace. I didn't sit down and have a heart to heart with it and its owner's manual as I do with most every other technological contraption that enters my house. I mean, I've even had this little Coming To Jesus with the fucking mandolin and that doesn't even have a battery. Which, thank gawd because can you imagine? It would have killed me already is what I'm saying.

But with the Garmin? Quite possibly the most complicated time telling device I've experienced in my lifetime? Oh no. "I'll just figure it out as I go", I said.

Pfffffffft. Yeah, that's been real successful.

So, you'd think that once I realized that I was in over my head with this mysterious, beeping, I Am The Holder Of Many Secrets digital GPS device, I would immediately head to the file folder of manuals in my office and sit quietly in a well-lit room with the Garmin and its manual until I could accurately describe how to implement at least two functions it performed other than Tell Me The Time and Tell Me My Pace. Right? You'd expect at least that.

Hey! Me too!

Except you know what I did?

I just found a video online for how to set the interval thing and, after not even watching the whole video, ran out the door to try it out. Yay! I watched one minute of a three minute instructional video! I know everything!

I did not know everything.

Which became vividly apparently after I'd been "Do Workout"ing for more than five minutes with nary a beep to tell me to RUN or REST or WarmUp or CoolDown.

Yeah, that's because when you set this thing to do a simple interval of 2 minutes of RUN and 1 minute of REST with a WarmUp YES and CoolDown YES, you have to actually tell the thing when you're done running your WarmUp and ready to start RUNning and RESTing for whatever intervals you set.

What bullshit that this thing doesn't read minds. It can tell you your lat/long location (or I assume it can, I haven't looked up that feature yet), speed (confirmed it does this), elevation (after the fact for sure) and recently I found that it could YAY tell you about your mile splits, but it doesn't read my mind yet? Lame.

Perhaps it's like the heart rate monitor feature - you have to have a strap wrapped around your head to get it to work...

Anyway, to focus on my particular failings with the intervals feature - I went out to fartlek myself into an early grave without watching the entire instructional video, so I fartlekked of my own accord rather than with the assistance of the handy Garmin. Basically, I warmed up for a little over five minutes and when I realized that the watch wasn't going to tell me via beeping to do my intervals, I just kept an eye on the clock (so exhausting) and RAN for two minutes and RESTed for one minute and so on until I was within a few blocks of my house (and nearly barfing) and slowed it down for the CoolDown portion of the event.

Even though I utterly failed at properly utilizing the Intervals feature of my Garmin, I did fartlek and it did almost make me throw up in public and WHOA I took nearly a minute off my previous time for that same route.

I chalked it up as a minor success. Then I went inside and told Bubba I needed a stretcher ready and waiting for me after all forthcoming runs.

After that run, but before I set out a few days later for my next try at this fartlek business, I watched the next minute of the video to figure out why the thing never went from WarmUp to RUN and it told me I had to hit the Lap button to start the interval feature with the beeping and what not.

Oh. Makes sense, I guess.

So, my next fartlekky run was marginally more successful since I did a WarmUp for about two minutes, hit Lap and fartlekked myself nearly into a coma for 6 intervals (I told you I was a puss, what do you want?) before it lapsed into CoolDown on its own.

Wait? Why did it stop beeping? I thought I had one more interval to go? Yeah, no. If you program 6 intervals, thinking that it will do, say two minutes RUN and one minute REST for 6 cycles, you are wrong. It will do that for 5 cycles and on the last one it will just leave you on the rest cycle indefinitely. Then you hit Lap when you're done and only then will it play you the magical You Didn't Die! Hooray! song.


So, that took me another run to figure out, but I got it down in time for my shortish long run last Saturday and, when I completed the interval portion of my shortish long run (which was the first 5K of my 6 miles), I hit the Lap button and got to enjoy the mechanical beepy You're Done song while I walked around with tunnel vision for a few minutes before resuming my run at a more human pace in the mid 9s.

I thought I'd conquered the Intervals feature of Garmin. I was wrong.

When I went out on Tuesday for my, now totally normal, bout with fartleks, I realized during one of the REST or RUN cycles that there was an extra piece of information I hadn't set and might actually be good to have: Target.

What it said was "No Target".

Running without a target or goal is not my style, folks - as you know. And to be doing something as torturous as fartleks without a target is downright retarded.

So, my goal for tomorrow's shortish long run is to figure out how to set my 2:1 intervals with target paces for both. What will those target paces be? Who the hell knows! I mean, I can only deal with one new feature at a time, so I'll likely choose those targets at random. Like 8:30 for a RUN target and 10 for a REST target because that sounds like it would probably even out to a 9:29mm pace over a 5K distance. In my head. If I don't think about it too much.

And, while I'm not thinking about it too much, there's also the possibility that "Target" doesn't mean "pace" or "distance" but something obscure like "heart rate". Officially, I will find that annoying if that's the case. Just want to get that out there.

Sure, I *should* go figure out how to set this and what to set it at and also confirm that Target is for pace and not for something else, but that can just be the fun little thing I come back to bitch about next week.

Oh, and I got my Turkey Trot bibb in the mail yesterday, so my bitching next week may include how I fucked up my Turkey Trot 5K time by failing to master my Garmin beforehand or because there was a gang of misfit pilgrims running arm in arm in front of me or because I had a warm up slice of pumpkin pie as race fuel, but you know it will not be attributed to my failure to train properly.



  1. I haven't used the intervals on my Garmin in a while, but I'm 99% sure that "Target" can be a pace (or HR). However, in my experience, it can sometimes get a little flaky on pace over short distances (like 1-2 minutes), so it'll keep telling you to SPEED UP SPEED UP SPEED UP and then immediately go to SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN and then back to SPEED UP SPEED UP SPEED UP.

    (It might not, but I just wanted to warn you in case it does so you know it's not you. Unless it's just me, in which case, don't tell me. I prefer to blame the technology for my inability to run at a consistent pace.)

  2. You are hilarious. I stumbled upon your blog this morning after seeing a funny quote that you had made on digthischickmt's blog. I look forward to your rants.


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