11 December 2011

Ain't No Mountain High Enough?

Changes can be great sometimes.  Years ago, only the military had access to satellite data.  Then big corporations got into the fun and now the average Joe, too, can wear a gadget that talks to some satellite out there and gather all kinds of info about where he was etc.

The NYRR Jingle Bell Jog was the first race I participated after I became an owner of a G-watch, to be exact, a Garmin Forerunner 210.  As I approached the start line, like many (all?) runners I set my watch to be ready to start record.  Unlike a simple stopwatch that only tracks time, these fancy G-watch needs some time to find  the satellite.  You would have to do that prior to approaching the start line, then when you cross the line you would press Start to, uh, start tracking your work.

The big hill in Prospect Park is formidable, but how does it look graphically?  The accompanying picture's top part tells the story.  The green line is elevation in meters and the blue line is speed in minutes per kilometer.  The use of the word "speed" is misleading because speed to most people probably mean distance per time, like kilometers per hour or kilometers per minute, the opposite of what the graph considers "speed."  The X-axis (horizontal) is distance in kilometers.  It was a 6K race and the Garmin said I ran 6.22K, maybe it included the distance I crossed when I moved left or right to get past slower runners.  The start line in Center Drive was actually on a hill when compared to the East Drive.  Leaving Center Drive and turning left toward the lake, it was an easy downhill run.  I remember joking aloud during the Brooklyn Marathon that there was all to the big race, all downhill!  Just a tad past 3K was where the big hill materialize.  Oh, mine, Hill, what big slope you have!!!  It was not exactly all downhill after the big one, as there were some ups and downs, all the way back to Center Drive.

Remember my beef about the misleading use of "speed" in the graph?  If you think kilometers per minute then the graph makes no sense.  I know I sped up to make a strong finish but yet the blue line dropped.  If I ran faster, should the line not rise at the end?  The thing is the graph really shows pace, as the label on the right Y-axis (vertical) reads "min/km".  The less time you spend on covering a km, the faster you ran.

To see a simulation of the race as carried out by me, visit http://connect.garmin.com/player/133810229 and click Play.  The wonder of technology! 

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