Ignorance Truly Can be Bliss

Good evening from a nicely warm-ish Chicago! This is why I love spring and fall – by summer and winter you’re expecting hot or cold temps, but in the transitional seasons, every taste of warmer or cooler temps is a gift, a sign of things to come. I know it’s cooling down here tomorrow, but it’s going to warm up a bit over the weekend, then will be more moderate for awhile – all fine with me. I’m glad to put winter behind me…but summer can wait a bit. 🙂

I planned on doing a HIIT run at the gym this morning, but when my alarm went off I just wasn’t feeling the intensity. So instead I did another 4 miles outside, with a more moderate pace, and felt great. Even better, my hamstring felt better than it did yesterday, so I’ll take it! I took a nice walk at lunch and took a longer trip home so I could do a little more walking (and grocery shopping) – all in all a nicely active day. AND I forgot to take my allergy pill at lunch but am feeling pretty much fine, so hopefully I’m out of the woods in that department!

When I run outside, I almost always have my Garmin fitness tracker on – actually, since I bought it last summer, I think I’ve only run twice without it. I try not to get too fixated on it – after all, I’m just a recreational runner, and a non-competitive one at that, so the idea of holding a certain pace or heart rate or whatever isn’t a big deal to me. I more use it to monitor distance and to keep track of my 6:1 run/walk intervals (the watch beeps and buzzes when it’s time for me to take my walk breaks, and again to get me back to running).

When I run to the lake path from my house (sometimes I do, sometimes I use it as a walking warm-up), I go under a short tunnel, and every now and then it throws my GPS out of whack. Yesterday, for instance, my watch told me I ran a mile in under 9 minutes – even at my absolute speediest daydream I cannot imagine that happening! – and when I got back to my house I still had mileage to make up. So today that was on my mind during the run – the times were more accurate, but I felt like the watch told me I’d gone 2 miles a little bit earlier in the course than usual (you’d think I’d have distances memorized by now but since I vary it up – running north or south, from my house or from the path itself, etc., I usually don’t remember). But since I didn’t have time to screw around (had to get to work, after all!), I turned around and finished up.

I kept wondering if the distance really was accurate or if my GPS shortchanged me – it’s well documented that they’re not always accurate and tend to be offset not only by tunnels but even heavily wooded areas or super tall buildings, that kind of thing.

Tonight I was remembering the one run, over a year ago, that made me feel like I could really resume my running game. I’d been wearing a regular watch and just running for time – 30 mins out/back,  then 35, then 40, and so on. Then I downloaded one of the running apps and actually saw my distance. And after one run I took a look at the watch and gasped – 9 miles, and it wasn’t a huge challenge! I remember saying “well…if I can do 9, I can do 10. And if I can do 10 I can do a half marathon. And if I can do a half marathon…maybe I can try to actually finish a marathon this time!”

(I love my exaggerated logic…I’m surprised I didn’t tell myself “And if I can complete a marathon I’ll start running ultras! And then an Ironman! And then I’ll be in the Olympics!”)

Anyway, the point of all of this is – looking back, I wonder if I actually DID run 9 miles that day! Because when transitioned from the app to my Garmin, I noticed that I had to run just a bit longer with the Garmin to get to the distance my app was telling me I’d already reached. Nothing dramatic, but maybe crossing another block or two or whatever. And I wonder, if I’d looked at the app and it had said 8.5 miles, would I have been so confident of all the future stuff? Totally possible, but I could just as easily have been like “wow, 8.5 miles. Guess I hit my limit!”

So sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Maybe I ran 9 miles that day, maybe I didn’t – but I know FOR SURE that I ran 26.2 in October. Maybe I did get in 4 miles this morning, and maybe I didn’t – but I’ll keep going and it’ll all even out. I like to think I’m getting to a similar place with food. I only use calories on a label as a guide and I don’t freak out when I see an interesting recipe without a nutrition label – I focus on the ingredients and the serving size and just figure out if it’s going to be something I’ll make. Ideally if it turns out to be a heavier meal than what I’m used to, I’ll intuitively cut back elsewhere. I’m not there yet…but I’m getting there.

And that’s all for tonight. I have a secret workout goal for tomorrow – will hopefully be able to write about it tomorrow night! 🙂

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