A few words from a former data-junkie

Hello, my name is Megan, and I am a recovering data junkie.

I’ve been clean now for nearly three weeks. My GPS watch has been stowed away in my suitcase since my trip to Florida, and I took the PowerTap SL+ out of my online shopping cart. My heart rate monitor is buried under eight boxes of latex tubes and hydration belts in the bike&run gear. I haven’t opened the 2010_training_log.xls file in at least fourteen days, three hours, and twenty-six minutes. And I am ok with that.

You see, I’ve been a little down and out. I have been feeling slow. Sluggish. Unfit. Whenever I head out for hill repeats, I feel like I left my legs at the bottom. I felt like I was pulling 8s when my minutes per mile were really 9’s. Every time I’d look at the instantaneous pace screen on my Garmin, I wanted to cry. Why was I going so slow and felt like it was so hard?  My energy has been low and, well, I’ve just not been having that much fun. So I unintentionally forgot my Garmin on a run. and then I forgot it again. I just ran by feel. I ran with friends. I asked them to slow down. They complied. I ran an LT with Baberaham and fell off the back. Instead of pouting, I just ran in the rest of the three miles nice-and-easy.

And then I had a race: the Hancock Canal Run. 10miles of slightly rolling hills along the lakeshore. Do I wear the Garmin, or do I leave it behind? I wasn’t sure how fast I could do the ten miles. My previous best time was 1:10:14, and I ran that the first year I did the race (in 2007). I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of even coming close to that.  I didn’t even want to try. I didn’t want to be disappointed, and I wasn’t sure I could do it. Not with the way I’ve been performing in my training. So I left the watch uncharged. Blank. Dead. And I brought along my new Timex watch.

No instantaneous pace. No beeps every mile. I just hit the lap button when I crossed the mile markers, and would hear the beeps of other peoples’ watches as I passed them. Steady, steady, mile after mile, my pace stayed the same, and it was ahead of the pace I needed to match in order to PR.

Don’t worry about that, I told myself. Run by feel.

Does this feel comfortable? I’d ask myself. Yes? Yes! Ok, well, stay steady.

Steady, steady, 6:50 after 6:50. I held the pace through mile 5. Mile 6. Mile 7. Mile 8. I stopped looking at the watch in the last two miles, running by feel and listening to my body. Does it hurt? Ok, now is the time to make it start hurting.

I crossed the line in 1:09:14. Nearly a minute faster than my previous best. Faster than previous years where I was doing focused run training.

Maybe I’m being a little dramatic. I don’t think I am nearly as data-junktified as a lot of other triathletes. But I am learning about the pleasure, and the benefit, of disconnecting. I don’t have a coach, so I don’t need to send anyone my power data. I don’t train with my heart rate monitor because, well, I don’t listen to it anyway. I am excited for the return to the rudimentary lap watch of the 20th century.

Don’t get me wrong, the GPS watch will come out for my long runs and hilly adventures. I like knowing how far I’m going before I need to turn around. Plus, it’s always nice to plot the map afterwards!

P.S.- I also don’t have a blackberry, an iPhone, or any sort of smart accessory. and I don’t really want one. I saw this article posted last Thursday on the competitor site regarding triathlete specific iPhone apps. Really? ROFLCOPTER. Not. that. connected.

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About megankillian

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. I love biomechanics!

Posted on July 19, 2010, in technology, training. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Numbers don’t mean dick, just because you don’t hit certain splits doesn’t mean you suck, sometimes you need to suck it up and finish the workout regardless, sometimes you need to pack it in, only you know what call to make when.

  2. It’s awesome to leave the watch and data behind 🙂 Nice work and a great PR!

  3. NICE WORK on that PR. Couldn’t agree more… sometimes data is good and sometimes you just gotta go. I find that sometimes my mind just needs a break from it all.

  4. Michelle Simmons

    I’m with ya! Most of the time I don’t even wear a watch when I race. It’s very freeing. And I find I race better when I’m focused on how I feel vs my pace.
    Congrats on your PR!!

  5. Congrats on the race and unplugging! I haven’t worn a watch for a race in three years. Started using map my ride/run so I don’t even take the garim for distance anymore. I makes checking the results kind of suspenseful and fun…

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