The best laid plans

When I run, I use this fantastic app on my iPhone called RunKeeper.  It allows me to track my activities by movement  like mountain biking, cycling, running, hiking, walking or skiing. It offers audio cues on how fast I’m running on average, at the moment or during any given interval.  It figures out my calorie burning rate, and tracks where I have run. I can map out routes before I leave home on my personal webpage on RunKeeper. I can also choose routes that are already designated/built by other people using the app. And I can add training plans offered by different trainers, like the Jeff Galloway plan that I used to train for the half-marathon over the weekend.

Here is an example of a screenshot from the map of the race over the weekend.

The training plan that I used to get ready for the event utilizes three types of exercise events;
maintenance, speed building, and distance building.
There are two runs per week that are 45 minutes long. These are maintenance runs.
On those runs, you run for four minutes steady (your current average pace)
and one minute slow (walking for recovery).
You repeat this pattern over and over until you reach a full 45 minutes of exercise.
Speed building uses intervals of about a half mile of pushed speed,
followed by a three-minute slow, recovery walk.
These runs are longer than maintenance, but not as long as distance building runs.
I’m not MUCH faster on interval training, but I have seen improvement using this app.

Distance runs have a pattern to follow also:  .50 mile running (faster and steady)
followed by .25 recovery (walking or slow).
This is what that screenshot looks like.

And this, my friends, is what the page looks like when there is a glitch.

While running a 13 mile endurance run back in September,
my app glitched and bounced forward to the next interval sooner than it should.
So, it recorded that I ran a half mile in 2:10
followed with a quarter-mile in 2:13! Hahahaha!
I can run a mile (if I do not stop to rest) in around 11 minutes,
so a half mile in 2:10 is outrageous.

I worried, at the time, that either my phone or my app was beginning a slow fail.
But, I had no more problems after that mid-September morning ….
until this past Saturday …. at the half-marathon.

I was in the corral ready to run. I choose my “Run” playlist on my phone. I had my RunKeeper app set to all the settings that I prefer with audio cues on and verbal reports of interval speed and average speed. I had my route chosen so …. if I made a wrong turn, I could get back on track easily. As I walked under the Rock ‘n’ roll banner and over the chip sensor that would start my time,

I started the RunKeeper app.

And by the time I crossed the bridge shown below in the far distance, I knew there was a problem.

I knew I had run more than a half mile.
I looked down at my app and it said that I had been running for ten minutes
and I hadn’t had an interval cue to move from “steady” to “slow.”
This is my phone screenshot:

I immediately thought of the quote,
“The best laid plans of mice and men … often go awry.”

For months, I had used this app
and knew exactly what to expect.
13.1 miles “steady” with no “slow” recovery intervals was NOT what I expected.
The app had glitched … on the most important day in the training program.
I had to think fast.
I stopped the event app.
I really need the start/stop direction to know when to run and when to recover/walk.

Once an event in the training plan has been used,
it cannot be repeated.
So, I couldn’t restart the marathon event in the app fresh. It was not available.
I decided to use a running day event  from the past that I had not “consumed” in training.
It was longer than 13 miles and used the “.50 steady/.25 slow” long distance interval plan.
I pushed the “Start” icon.

And …. I had peace.
I had trusted the app to direct my training, yet wasn’t sure how the day would play out.
I preferred the use of Jeff Galloway’s coaching, but my peace was not in the direction of the app.
Nor was my peace found in my rest from the night before … because the hours were quite fidgety.
I couldn’t even say that I had complete peace in my training … because,
as I said here yesterday, I felt as though I had tapered a bit too much.
As I began to run … knowing that my RunKeeper results would not be accurate ….
knowing that I hadn’t rested well …
knowing that I might run out of energy from too great a taper …
I felt a deep sense of peace in knowing that
God was before me … He was behind me …. and He was with me.
I had done what I could to get ready.
I had no control over many of the circumstances …
all I could do was do what I had been well-trained to do : run.
I could be mad … because the app had failed.
I could be fretful because … I was not well-rested.
I could be worrisome … because I had tapered too greatly.
Or I could run and have fun doing it!
I chose the later.

You know, there is only so much in life that we can control.
We can only do soooo much …
I believe we have a responsibility to do our best at any given moment.
But, even our “best” is not always heroic, monumental or grand.
Sometimes our best includes laundry, rest or a difficult to muster smile.
And sometimes we fail completely.
Things don’t go the way we expect.
People change, situations change, apps glitch.
The greatest control we have
is over our reactions.

Do what you can,
forgive yourself when you fail,
rest in God.
and focus enjoying the run.

2 thoughts on “The best laid plans

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