Engineers love numbers. Runners love numbers. Since I am both an engineer and a runner, the effect is multiplied. Or maybe raised to the second power. Or maybe matrixed.
I'm strongly pursuing a sub 4 hour marathon this year. My training plan today called for 6 miles at marathon pace. So, I utilized my Garmin 305's "virtual runner" feature, in which the screen compared my position with respect to a mythical runner at a perfectly even pace. It then tells me how many feet ahead or behind I am of Myron, the Mythical Runner.
Of course, in a race, you never run a perfectly even pace. And my sub 4 plan calls for steady running but walking through all water stops. So what's the impact on my overall pace to walk through a water stop?
100 feet per stop.
I simulated several water stops this morning, getting two cups of water, taking four gulps and dumping the rest on my head, while walking. In every case, it cost me right at 100 feet with respect to Myron.
I ultimately beat Myron by about 600 feet but he didn't seem to feel too badly. He did quip though "Man, I was catching you at those water tables but couldn't get by you." He'll be ok.