A Running Dictionary: Gee whizzers!


By Cindy Lapeña

Last week, we did our efs, and I’ve got one more high tech ef for you before we move into the gees.

Fitbit: For those techy runners out there, the Fitbit is the latest in wireless wearable technology. It’s actually a brand of activity trackers that measure the number of steps you walk, your heart rate, quality of sleep, steps climbed, and other metrics. The first of the Fitbits was the Fitbit Tracker. There are now 11 different types of Fitbits and they change as quickly as your mobile phone!

And with that farewell to efs, we get to our gees!

Garmin: This is a popular brand of GPS and yes, they also produce GPS-enabled sports watches. It’s the precursor of the Fitbit and many runners use their Garmin to track their distance, pace, heart rate, and other personal metrics. If you’re wondering why runners are always looking at their watches, they’re probably checking out their Garmin. This is also really useful in case they get lost or take a wrong turn somewhere!

Glycogen: Glycogen is the technical name for glucose (a.k.a. sugar) stored in the body. It’s the simple sugar (also known as monosaccharide) found in the blood that supplies your body’s cells with energy. It’s what keeps runners going and when it’s gone, runners “hit the wall” (see h-aitches).

There’s not a whole lot of gees on our list, but if I think of more, I’ll bring them up, so I guess we can move on to our h-aitches (‘h’ is silent or pronounced, depending on what accent you want to use or what part of the Maritimes you’re from!).

Half-Marathon: 13.1 miles or 21.0975 kilometers, again, depending on where you live. I could go into a history of metric vs. imperial measurement standards, but that would be digressing too much.

Hardware: Most big runs provide finishers with race medals, a.k.a. hardware. Once you cross the finish line, organizers award you with a medal, certificate, and other prizes if you’re somewhere in the top 3 of your category. You deserve it! Runners are proud of their hardware because it’s proof positive of their accomplishments and they always hang in a place of honor, a.k.a. shrine. Don’t always expect the certificate and other prizes, though. It really depends on the run.

Hill Repeats: An exercise to develop speed, strength, and confidence, hill repeats are a cruel and usual form of punishment—er, I mean speed work. If you have a toddler who only knows Jack and Jill and sings it over and over again, you know exactly how it feels sans the pail of water—which would be really welcome to dunk over your head after heading up that hill at 5K pace and walking or jogging easily down several times. How many repeats you do depends on your fitness level and experience. First timer? Don’t even bother. On the other hand, it’s excellent preparation if you’re planning to take on the Great Wall Marathon!

Hit the Wall: Not literally, of course, unless you’re not looking and turn “bonking” (another term for hitting the wall) into a wall. When runners hit the wall, it means they feel like dropping dead on the spot—just feel, mind you (although Pheidippides did drop dead after his historic run, probably from hitting the wall big time!)—because you literally run out of energy and feel like you can’t take another step. This often happens around the 20-mile marker, but many marathoners don’t remember that. If you do the math, running at 5 min/mile, you’ll hit your 20 miles after an hour. That’s why nourishment is encouraged after an hour of running and every 40-45 minutes thereafter (once your body starts burning energy from a workout, it keeps on burning even after you stop).

That’s it for this installment! I-L see you next time!


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