Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's Your Time, Really??

This is so true - when we run a race, especially a full or half marathon, we have our official "chip" time, and then we have our unofficial time, i.e., the time we think we really deserved.

You can tell when someone is talking unofficial time, because they say things like: "Well, I ran that marathon in 4:15, but I really ran it in 4:05 because I got a cramp and had to stop for a minute at mile 10, then I had to pee at mile 15 then, I stopped to tie my shoe at mile 18. So technically, I ran much faster than 4:15."

Usually the issues that slow us down are:
  • cramps
  • dehydration
  • toilet issues
  • weather (wind, heat especially)
  • hills
  • mental anguish
  • painful blisters
  • "I'm sick of this *&!$ and want to stop"
But the list is truly endless.

When I ran my first marathon in January, my chip time was 4:03. But I like to think my real time was under four hours because I had to stop in the dookie house (urban name for porta potty) and that took at least 3:02. Then on my recent half marathon, if had just not crapped my pants, I could have done a 1:50 instead of a 1:52. I am sure of it.

If you start listening closely, everyone does this. Me included.

So what's your story about how much faster you could have done your race if only....???


  1. Uhh, I'm totally with you. When I ran the Philadelphia 1/2 marathon in 2007, I had to stop to take a crap at mile 10. I HAD to other disaster would strike. I ended up finishing 10 seconds out of 4th place. Yep, that bathroom stop cost me $350 of award money.

  2. Marathon #1: I could have run faster if I didn't march for eight hours (in a wool uniform, carrying a trombone) the day before.

    Marathon #2: I could have run faster if it wasn't 90 degrees.

  3. I had this philisophical ramble all planned out, but just decided to play along instead. Green Bay 2006 - I could have shattered my PR (not that I am fast) if I didn't have to take seven bathroom breaks. Turns out that when it's really cold (33 degrees at the start) your body processes liquids faster - doh! I still had a PR, but...

  4. lol i had to laugh at the crap my pants part... i know its true but its just funny to hear it again :)

    ummm i dont know. i dont think i have excuses besides getting tired or the hills... hopefully there will be no excuses this weekend!

  5. Hahahaha when I ran my 2nd half marathon, my goal was to run under 1:50 and I ended up running 1:52 (hey, same as you! haha). I think if I didn't drink a crapload of water out of nervousness before the race, I wouldn't have had to stop to pee about 3 times during the race. And if it wasn't so hot, I could have finished about a minute faster!

  6. Thanks for stopping by my humble little blog.

    I was actually stopped for 3 minutes (along with a whole lot of other people) during the Tucson Marathon. We were supposed to get credited for the time on our official clock time, but we never were. I still list the official time as my PR time since I did get three minutes worth of rest that I really, really needed at that point.

  7. crack me up! The crapping your pants part is too funny (sorry) and is another issue that I haven't thought about for my race on Sunday. Maybe I should just go buy some Depends, because I'm not stopping!

  8. To bad we can't turn the chips on and off for these inconveniences.

  9. Interesting question, since we all do this to a certain extent.

    The 2007 Army Ten Miler was 90 degrees and I'm convinced I could have broken 65 instead of the 67:30 I got if it wouldn't have been hot.

    I had a 3 minute negative split one year in the Grand Rapids Marathon. It was a PR, but I've played the game of how much faster I could have gone if I was a wee bit more aggressive.

    However, no race is perfect and there's always the woulda/coulda/shoulda. Our times are our times and they are what they are.

  10. If only I had ran faster...

  11. Ok, you are going to have to tell the pooping just have to...and I need to be educated...what is a qualifiying time to be eligible for Boston?

  12. Great post and so true.... I love how we always have to qualify our finishing times. "I ran 1:56, but....."

    I have actually never had to stop during a race, for the bathroom or otherwise (knock on wood!) but the weather has definitely added minutes and seconds to my times!

  13. well...i've actually never really had to stop so my times are just my times. I mean if I whine and walk well that has happened once and that was just my time...the other stuff, knock on wood hasn't been an issue

  14. LOL! Fun post! I have heard talk like that, but haven't had it happen to me yet. I am hoping I don't have to stop at the dookie house this Saturday. I've thought about going in my pants!

    I guess I do always start MY watch once I hit the start line. So it is sometimes a few seconds off!

  15. I have to admit I talk about the distance my garmin shows vs what the race distance was. They are never the same and my garmin is always longer!

  16. LOL - funny comments from so many readers. First marathon - could've knocked at least an hour off my time (seriously) had I not gotten hurt. Doh! At least I finished. Second half-marathon - maybe could've broken 2 hours had I not squatted to pee in the bushes along someone's driveway. Sure beat the port-o-potty line, though!

  17. Hmm, great question. I always lose AT LEAST a minute each race getting rid of all my extra layers. Way too over-dressed most of the time.

  18. Sounds like the ladies who could have been in the top 3 of the Amazing Race last week if only they didn't stop to pee!
    I went into my first 5k thinking "if only" about the crowd of people before I even started (Disney) but the crowd was not a problem. I ended up hitting my goal, but think I could have beat my goal with more people cheering along the race route. The next time I'm a spectator at a run, I'll stand in the middle and cheer instead of the finish.

  19. Ha ha - this is funny. I didn't go to the bathroom on either of my marathons because I didn't want to mess up my time. I just held it until the finish line. And I double knot my shoes so they don't untie. And I drink and run, spilling all down my front.

  20. not knowing the finish line was right around the was a "5k" but garmin said 3.01, so I would've kicked had I saw the line sooner and realized I didn't still have a tenth left to go.