As those of you who follow this blog know, I’ve been trying to become more of a runner, trying to improve my stamina and speed and be less of, well, a joke.
In the last couple of weeks, I really haven’t gotten out and run much. Last week I was in Florida, where one would think I’d have taken advantage of the warm weather to run nearly every day. Unfortunately, I was not there on vacation; I was there to look after my father, who’d had emergency surgery after falling and breaking his hip. I had to stick around the house pretty much all the time, and when I wasn’t at the house, I was out buying various things to help in his recovery. I only got out to run once while I was there.
This week I was playing catch-up at work. The first time I was able to get out and run was today. But, fortunately, my time away from running doesn’t seem to have hurt me. When I showed up at the gym in Essex Junction to run, I felt good. Strong. I was raring to go.
But when I got upstairs to the indoor track and turned my Garmin Forerunner 305 on to track my laps (indoors, the GPS isn’t much use, but it still works to record my heart rate and I can manually press the ‘lap’ button each time I go ’round), I was greeted with the annoying message: “LOW BATTERY”. I’d charged it last week, but somehow it’d gone almost dead. Presumably it’d gotten turned on by accident while in my luggage, and I hadn’t charged it since getting home.
So what was I to do? I wasn’t wearing my watch; it was down in my locker. I had my Droid phone with me, and it had a stopwatch app on it, so I shrugged and figured I’d use that to time myself. No problem, right?
An actual lap counter would have been even better, but I didn’t want to take the time to search for and download one. (I had visions of fumbling with the touch screen every sixty seconds, trying to record a lap when I should have been focusing on running.) So, I shrugged and just kept count in my head.
Now, it’s not always easy to keep track of laps in your head. You start going “11 11 11 11 11″ and then think “wait, did I just finish lap 11, or am I on lap 11?” I tried hard not to lose count — that’s about all I can say.
I did not look at the stopwatch as I ran. I just kept my head down and focused on running. I felt good. I felt like I had a good stride and didn’t feel the fatigue setting in that I normally feel. From a standpoint of how I felt, it was probably my best run ever.
But here’s the punchline: when I finished the 25th lap (making 3.125 miles) and came to a stop, I pulled out my phone and looked at the readout: 22 minutes 53 seconds.
Twenty two minutes and 53 seconds?
When my best time ever was 28 minutes and 30 seconds?
Okay, I have to have lost count. But did I lose FIVE WHOLE LAPS?
Sigh. Just my dumb luck. I may have had my best 5K run ever, and I have no way of knowing how I really did.
I’ll be back tomorrow night… WITH a fully charged Forerunner. We’ll see if tonight was a complete fiction, or whether I really have improved!