Throughout my life, various teachers and authority figures have commented on my flair for the dramatic, calling me “spirited”, imaginative”, and “prone to flexible reality.”
I have no idea what they could possibly have been implying. Yes, maybe I demand a trophy every time I return home from a run. Possibly my first language is capital letters and hyperbole. And perhaps I wear my Wonder Woman crown when I clean the house because it makes me clean faster. Whatever. That all might be true.
Here’s what is DEFINITELY true: Map My Run+ RUINED MY LIFE.
When I started running back in February, I was using an app called Run Keeper. My SELF magazine recommended it and if it’s good enough for Carrie Underwood, it’s good enough for me. And I thought it was working well. Then I was all hamstrung and took a running break and then returned (triumphantly) and started pulling 6:00 miles. This was suspicious, as my pre-hamstrung pace was 12:00. So I did some research (see: texted iWill) and was told to try Map My Run+.
So I bought it. And at first, everything was lovely. I started back at a 12:00 mile and then slowly worked my way to 11:00 miles. Then I started hitting 10:30 splits. THEN I was doing 10:00 miles. Finally, within just 2 months of my new app, I was running a consistent 9:30.
Then iWill and I did our first race. My pace was decidedly UN-9:30 but I figured it was nerves because after the race, my training runs returned to normal pace. Then we did our second race and, again, my pace wasn’t up to par. Finally, we headed out to do 5 miles together, not in a race, and I knew I’d be able to show him what I could do.
iWill ran the route with his fancy Garmin Forerunner 305, while I did my standard “turn on running app and shove my phone into my tata tamer” routine. At the end of our run, the Garmin recorded our mileage as 5.6 miles. My app? 5.9 miles.
Immediately I knew something was wrong. And the Garmin is fancy, so I was inclined to trust it over a 99 cent app. And also I had iWill shouting in my ear, “I KNEW IT. SOMETHING DIDN’T ADD UP. 9:30 MILES MY ASS. THERE’S NO WAY.” But still, I had to be sure. So for the last two weeks, I’ve been mapping my runs on Google when I get home and then calculating my pace based on the length of the run.
My standard pace is around 10:45 to 11:00. And just like that, I went from FASTEST RUNNING PHENOM IN THE WORLD to Little Miss Could Just Be STANDING THERE.
The working theory for why the running apps are so off? My Abilities. The phone is shoved in my sports bra and things are tamed, yes, but there’s only so much the physics of Lululemon can do, so there’s still considerable bounce. When I zoomed in on my running route map, post-run, it looked like I’d zig-zagged all over the sidewalk, running in neat little back and forth loops like I was running through an earthquake.
So now I’m all discouraged. Because I used to be an amazingly fast runner and now I’m not anymore. Even though I actually never was as fast as I thought I was but still, I thought I was, so it counts anyway, which makes very little sense unless you are in my brain with me.
I have a plan though. It’s threefold:
- Read books about the fastest and most badass people in the world, Ironmen and Ultramarathoners. My pace will increase by osmosis.
- Focus on distance over speed. On Thursday, I’ll be running 6 miles, which is the FARTHEST I’VE EVER RUN EVER. (PS: You can get used to me saying that sentence every week because EVERY WEEK I’ll be increasing my LONGEST RUN EVER and also SOMEONE GIVE ME A GODDAMN TROPHY.) I never thought I’d be able to run 2 miles without walking, so six miles is kind of badass. When I’m regularly doing 10 mile runs, THEN I can focus on speed/pace.
- Buy a Garmin. Because I mean really. If I’m going to train for an ultra someday, I’ll need an accurate measurement of my progress.
(Related: If any of you have a used Garmin to sell, I know a girl who might just be interested.)
So maybe I’m not the fastest runner in the history of ever. But I’ll get there. Because there are people who can pull 8 minute miles. Who says I can’t be one of them?