Friday, April 23, 2010


Please excuse the lack of posts lately readers, I have experienced technical difficulties. Luckily, not with my bike, no that went back together beautifully. There weren't even any parts left out! I didn't want to gloat too early, but I have ridden it several times and I haven't heard anything fall off - successful mission! The technical difficulties occurred the other night when I was trying to post a blog of my 'super exciting' taper activities. The computer couldn't handle the excitement and sputtered and belched to a standstill. Couldn't have happened at a more appropriate time. You see, I have been asked this week by several people if I have and use certain training tools.

My cousin emailed me asking if I have a Garmin GPS. She knows someone who has one who posts their workout information on facebook and wondered if I used one. Firstly, let me just say, if I posted my workout information I would have to censor it. Really, I would. I told Corky I broke his record on Palomar last week, my workout data would let him know that maybe I didn't! I actually had a first generation Garmin GPS. I thought it would be great to let me know how far my run routes were and what pace I was going. I used it in the beginning, but then I knew how far all my routes were. I also got annoyed when it couldn't find a satellite to read off of. Lets face it, what it is the point of a tool if it doesn't work? Most importantly, I don't need a computer to tell me what my minute per mile pace is. If the dog doesn't need to break her trot to keep up, I am going slow. If I can get her to lope, I am going better. She is more reliable than a satellite, except when there is a rabbit or horse around, then her wires get crossed.

Jen just got a fancy VO2 max, lactic threshold test done. She sent me the numbers, psychological warfare perhaps? I have never had this fancy test done, because frankly, I won't use the numbers. I tried to use a heart rate monitor for a long time. I even raced with it a few times. When it read a heart rate of 130 in an ironman, standing still at the start, it freaked me out.  So, I don't use one now and all the people around me in a race should be grateful. I know I would be grateful if the dude running next to me with his heart rate monitor beeping constantly had left his at home. At least I admit that I am not going to listen to the parameters, why do they insist on setting it, wearing it and then ignoring it the whole time??

Yesterday, my friend Jess was shocked to learn that I don't have a bike computer. People use these to tell them their speed, average mph pace, distance, cadence. The fancier ones can tell you the temperature, the grade of the hill you are climbing. Some can be downloaded to a computer for you to analyze the data post ride (assuming your computer is working!) There are even bike computers that are power meters. They can give you a reading of what power you are putting to the pedals. All these devices leave the door open for operator error, and by that I mean I can totally screw it all up. I had a brief affair with a power meter. I had to let him go as he was way too unreliable for me. He was recalled to the factory for imperfections when I needed him the most. I need a reliable indicator so he got the boot. Instead of all these machines telling me what I am doing I listen to the main machine. If I am pedalling fast I know it. If I am getting passed by a grandma on a beach cruiser, I know I am not breaking 12mph. If I don't have any pressure on my pedals, I know I am not putting out much power. I also, can tell if I am hot or cold without a thermometer, although I do ask sometimes for confirmation.

The last bit of technology that I strip away when I race is my watch. I don't want to look at my splits when I am out there. I might start crying when the my grandiose illusions of my super speed are shattered. I can wait until the finish line for the clock to put me in my place. Mostly, I leave the watch off because if I can go faster I will. I get too distracted by pushing buttons and doing math calculations when I should be focusing on moving my legs faster. In the past when wearing a watch I have been known to slow down because I think I am going too fast. Kinda negates the purpose a bit wouldn't you agree.

I know that all these gadgets and gizmos work really well for others. I am not saying everyone should toss them aside but I know for me they are more of a distraction than a help. Maybe, one day I will change my mind, but not until these things are all fool proof. You the reader will benefit from my lack of numbers and graphs when I post race reports. Instead of hearing about how I didn't set, start or stop my gadget at the right time, you will be immersed in my scenery and people observations. For now, the best method for me is to Keep It Simple Stupid. KISS, KISS!

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