Monday, June 30, 2014

Lucinda Williams vs Nike Running 

So, despite the title of this blog, and a career that combines a number of sedentary pursuits, I sometimes go running. And, being a boy, and a bit nerdy, I often use a running app - Nike Running - when I do. It tells me each time I complete a kilometre - whatever I'm listening to on my headphones fades out for a moment and Ms Electronic Games Mistress intones something like '4 kilometres completed. 25 minutes 40 seconds. Average pace 6.25 per kilometre' then the music or podcast fades back in. I like this, because I'm a boy, and a bit nerdy, and it makes me try a bit harder if I know I'm going slower than usual. And it makes me try a bit harder if I'm going faster than usual because I think 'blimey, that's good' and feel spurred on to keep it up.

The problem is ... if, as is quite often the case, the GPS signal is a bit weak then the record of how far I've gone (and thus my speed) becomes distinctly inaccurate, normally in a generous manner. So I think I'm going faster than I actually am, sometimes subtly so, sometimes to a ludicrous degree such that I appear to be close to Usain Bolt's 100m pace over a 10K distance. I was fooled by it a few times early on, but nowadays I'm wise to its faults and I'm happy to plod along knowing that I'm probably going at a pace of between 6 and 6 and a half minutes per Km, because that's what I do, rather than the claimed 4 minutes 20 per Km on my first run back after a month of no exercise, as happened fairly recently. (It was a shame when I realised that one was fake. I'd figured that my subsequent book espousing a rigorous training regime of sitting still and eating too many biscuits to achieve massive improvements in personal best times would have been a surefire bestseller.)

So anyway, this morning I was running with Lucinda Williams's excellent album Little Honey playing in my headphones, and I was running pretty well, I think, but I knew not so well as Ms EGM was telling me. So when Jailhouse Tears faded out at the (supposedly) 6Km mark and the voice told me I was averaging 5 minutes 20ish per km I thought 'well, that hardly seems very likely'. Then the music faded back in. 'You're so full of shit,' sang Ms W, more succinctly.

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