The thing about a GPS tracker running watch…

…is that it not only lets me know my mileage, my time, and provides various other bells and whistles… but it also can pinpoint the moment I give up.

Here’s the screen grab from my Garmin Vivoactive 3 from this morning’s “run,” an attempt to do the virtual Clearwater Marathon using loops around my neighborhood.

You can see it. I can see it. Everybody can see it. The moment I was beaten by the run, by life, by the whole thing.


I forget how awful a bad run can be. I’ve had rough runs and tough days, but to experience one of these meltdown runs where the very thought of taking another step seems a trial worthy of a Greek demigod on some heroic journey.

I tend to block out those runs from my past, the ones that leave me in pain and agony, in tears of pain but more often frustration. But in the middle of a run like today, one where walking and shuffling trumps a running stride, they all come back to me in a flash.

The walking pneumonia of NYC.

The food poisoning of Chicago and later in Austin.

The bloodied knees of Bagan Temple.

The post-run, dehydrated collapse on the tile floor of my Da Nang airBNB.

The Charlie horses that send me into fits of convulsions.

The plantar fasciitis of LA, Seoul, and worst of all in a virtual run last year that sent me down a rabbit hole of “physical therapy.”

Sports psychologist experts will no doubt say I should be mindful of the past runs so that if I find myself in another one I can gauge the relative level of the day and know that I’ve endured worse. What was the worst run I’ve ever had?

I lack the capacity to reflect on such things, fearful that if I ever did break it down and list the reasons one run topped all others I might psychologically convince myself that this is a really stupid way to spend my days, one foot in front of another, all so I can traverse a distance that is perhaps better suited to wheeled or perhaps hovercraft or jetpack technology.

But I do know today really sucked. I feel awful, nauseous, sore, broken. Part of it is dehydration. I don’t normally finish all the water bottles I leave outside my door for aid stations as I wind my way back and forth and loop around the local neighborhoods. I had finished my fourth and final bottle of H20 by mile 18. I had strongly considered looping back to refill; any local park water fountains have been turned off to (rightly so) combat the transmission of Coronavirus. But I knew if I did swing by home before 26.2, I’d never go back out. That’s how broken I was.

So instead I walked and walked… and occasionally tried to run only to give up after little more than a few steps.


The other thing a GPS running watch can do, especially if the charger isn’t working right and you keep having to do a hard reset to get the thing back up and running, is it can reset all your data… meaning it can be fooled into thinking a shitty run today is my “fastest marathon ever.”

This is a lie. An insulting, condescending lie. And the “badge” notification only made me feel worse.

I feel terrible.