The plan for Saturday's 5K was simple: Wear my new Garmin Forerunner 310 and run below my anaerobic threshold, that heart rate where my body says "I can't go this fast burning body fat; I gotta have all the sugar you have stored. And now."
The last 5K I ran back in November, I ran the first two miles way. too. fast. Then, KABOOM! My last mile was more than 30 seconds slower. What happened, explained Andy, my training consultant who conducted metabolic testing for me at my friendly neighborhood Life Time Fitness, was that above my anaerobic threshold I stop burning fat and then I ran out of glycogen. There's somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 to 100,000 calories of stored fat in our body, and only a mere 1,200 to 2,000 calories of stored carbohydrates. Once your body switches over to carbs, well, you can see, you have a short window to get to the finish line without self-combusting, which is what I did in that 5K last fall.
Ultimately I want to train my body to run faster while still burning fat so I can run that last mile as fast I run the first. I plan on sharing more of what I'm learning from Andy in another post, because he has dumbed down heart rate training for me with exceptional patience (that is if, you too, need it dumbed down). But for now, let's focus on the technology part, which has been the hurdle for me to even get to the heart rate training.
Well, let's get back to my story. My plan for the 5K on Saturday. I had a plan.
I got to the race, turned on my Garmin and got this message: "Low Battery."
The battery was so low, it wouldn't work at all. "No Battery" would have been more appropriate.
I had been so enamored with my new Garmin because of the potential to actually use the data to effect my training rather than as mere entertainment while I run. Andy downloaded all of my zones right into the watch and then showed me how easy it was to sync the data into my computer. This is how easy it is: the watch comes with a USB stick. So long as that is in your computer, if you just walk in front of your computer, your Garmin will sync automatically. Foolproof for tech fools like me!
Unless you forget to charge it.
My frustration was amped because, yes, while self-inflicted, has diminished my user experience with technology. As an example, here are a few incidents that have caused technology angst:
1) I remember to bring iPod to gym, forget headphones.
2) I remember to bring headphones to gym, but have uncharged iPod.
3) I have charged iPod AND headphones, but ear buds come out every 19th step.
4) I put on the heart rate strap but forget to wear the monitor around my wrist.
5) I attach the heart rate monitor to my wrist but forget to wear the strap.
6) Heart rate monitor reads 215 as I start an easy run and I wonder if I should get to the hospital.
7) Heart rate monitor reads 62 while running a moderate pace and I think I might be dying.
8) Heart rate monitor fails altogether and I realize it just needed a new battery.
9) I inadvertently hit a button on my Garmin that causes it to beep every 458 feet.
I will admit that all of this boils down to user error. But as of now--with the intersection of this new Garmin that is easy for me to use, the drive to run my fastest 5K in 20 years, and the hand-holding of Andy to make sense of how to get there--I am motivated to try harder, which includes charging all the damn devices.
As for Saturday's race I went old school. Remember Rate of Perceived Exertion? I ran based on how I felt. The beauty of being a runner for as long as I have is that your internal monitor becomes pretty darn reliable. I'd say it doesn't even need charging, but I think that's what my daily morning coffee is for. And I do like being charged. Just like my Garmin, which is now charged and ready for my next run.