Thursday, June 12, 2008


Well it is confirmed. My pedometer is a hunk of crap!

Last night we went to the Marymoor dog park in Redmond again. The dogs love it there, I can let them run around off leash, and is lined with soft bark or crushed gravel. While I do have more difficulty walking on it than a flat paved trail, it is good practice for my hike as the trail I will be hiking on is not paved and composed of either hard and lumpy compact dirt and rocks or crushed gravel (It varies from going through the farmland to heading up the ridge).

I took my cheap free pedometer again. It was free because it was acquired through buying and eating X amount of boxes of a particular brand of cereal. Right there should have been my clue that it was merely a tacky novelty instead of a piece of gear for hard core serious walkers, hikers, and runners.

We did laps around the entire park which is over a 100 acres large (not quite sure the exact size but it is the biggest dog park in the state of washington). After the first lap I pulled the tiny device out of my pocket and it read 1.1 or 1.2 miles.

"Great!" I happily thought. If I briskly do 4 laps I should complete about 4.5 miles! Or, I could cut it slightly short by taking a trail crossing the park in the middle on my last lap to make it 4 miles and save some time.

It was a nice idea. So I hoofed it and really pushed making my rump muscles slightly sore. My goal was to complete the jaunt in an hour. Thus I only stopped for a few seconds to pick up poop from one of the dogs. The rest of the time I just kept going and when I passed the accesses to the river the dogs ran down for a drink and then caught back up with me.

On the beginning of the 4th lap I checked the pedometer to monitor my progress "What? 2.4 miles?" I was totally ticked off and frustrated. Wouldn't you be if you are working your butt off for nearly an hour and you are told you have not gone far?

When I had first used it on a recent training walk I was shocked to find it read 3.88 miles after walking briskly for over an hour. I had my doubts about if the reading was correct but I had not done a route with laps where it could have been checked. Further, a portion of the route was uphill and then I had to go off the trail to use the bathroom. So I gave the pedometer the benefit of the doubt even though I was not happy about it and disappointed I had not completed 4 miles or more.

This time it was VERY obvious by monitoring the distance of the first lap and comparing it to the final result. If I had gone about a mile on the first round, then I should have completed at least 3 miles in 3 laps right? Instead the darn thing told me I had not even completed 3 miles after 3 and a half laps of the park and 1 hour 10 minutes of walking!

I also know this to be true as I am in great shape right now and not walking slow. When I walked 26.2 miles in the Seattle marathon I completed the course in 6 hours 47 minutes which is roughly 3.75 miles an hour (for 26 continuous miles!). So surely I could complete 3.75 miles in one hour! During the marathon I had also made a few stops to take pictures, tie my shoes several times, and use the honey buckets (which at one point I had to stand in line for 10-15 minutes). Therefore, knowing my pace from that experience, it was clear the pedometer had been wrong.

Today I am going to run to GI Joes and Big 5 Sports to see what is available and how much they cost. I am thinking I should get 2 to try out and compare readings to make sure I don't get a hunk of junk again.

Normally with everything you trust your guages (flying a plane, navigating through the woods, your pressure guage while scuba diving, etc.). This is one exception to that rule as is diving with a computer where the computer could be wrong and you must know how to calculate your dive tables to ensure you are not passing your limits for nitrogen absorption.

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