“If you see me collapse, pause my Garmin.” That’s one of my favourites among those humorous sayings one finds on running t-shirts, especially those found at race expos. I laugh every time I see it. It’s poking gentle fun at our obsession with tracking our every training run to the nearest second, as if that would make the slightest amount of difference to most of us. It’s almost as if we didn’t record a run then it didn’t happen. Great t-shirt saying. Except that this past weekend I discovered that it’s not just funny, it should be a law! [For those of you who aren’t runners, a Garmin is a GPS watch, a kind of runner’s bible on a wrist. See my long-ago post Ode to my Garmin.]
If not collapse, then at least there should be an accepted practice of “if I trip and fall, pause my Garmin”. I could have used the aid of someone with this mindset this past Sunday at our local Fall Classic, where I was participating in the 10K event along with my brother, who came from Toronto to join me. Of course it wasn’t my plan to trip and fall. And it’s not like I was on a path to glory. However, I was on a path to finishing with a time that is personally acceptable. And now, I’m not only listed in the results table with a truly personal worst, but I don’t know what my actually running time was, which could at least have assuaged my bruised ego. Maybe. Mind you, I could guess at how long I was down and being treated and subtract that from the final time, but that’s pretty lame. Especially if my guess were to be overly generous. 😉
I was running along, on a beautiful crisp early autumn morning, heading for my expected slow but acceptable-to-me time, when I unexpectedly tripped going down a curb at about 7 km. It’s pretty well impossible to stop a fall when you trip when you’re running, and I confirmed that expectation. Down I went, mostly on the side of my face. The nice man who was right there, stopping traffic so the runners could cross the street, picked me up, checked me for dizziness, wrapped me in a space blanket to keep me warm, and called the race medic to come treat my bleeding face. I assumed this was the end of the race for me and, needless to say, didn’t give my Garmin a thought. However – and here’s the rub – the medic was on a bike, not in a car that could have taken me to the finish line, and once I was repaired and all checked out, he asked if I could walk it back. I could – in fact I ran it back the final 3 kms. The race wasn’t over after all! But, of course, I had lost LOTS of time while I was being attended to. Lots and lots of time. And the worst of it was, I didn’t know how much time. So when I neared the finish line, I was at great pains to explain why I had taken so long. As if anyone cared but me!
I’m grateful that:
- My brother had a great run, with a better result than he had hoped for (by our standards).
- I finished. I may well have done as well as I had hoped for, and no-one will ever know otherwise!
- I could have been hurt a lot more seriously; as it is I’ll mostly just look bad for a while.
Moral of the story: If you trip and fall while running, call out as you’re going down, “pause my Garmin”!