What is a mile? Or more specifically, how far is a mile? I always thought it was a standard measure of distance. Wikipedia says it’s 1.609344 km or 5,280 ft – and if it’s in Wikipedia, it must be true. Then why is it that New Balance and Google Maps can’t seem to agree?
From the moment I started running I wanted to measure my progress. I thought that more than running pants, sunblock or even running shoes, a pedometer was an essential tool in a runner’s toolbox. Damn the day I decided to go to Target and get myself one.
I picked the most expensive one in stock, too. The New Balance VIA Slim Pedometer cost just under $30. But for all my troubles and monetary sacrifice all I got is a lousy device that insist on telling me I’m running less than I think I am.
I must have bought the pedometer a day or two after I started this blog. On my first post I embedded a Google Map (via Map My Run) of my route that said I’ve
walked ran 1.46 miles. It wasn’t much to be proud of (specially because of the walking involved), so imagine my horror when I used my spanking new New Balance pedometer and it said I’ve ran about 0.83 miles instead.
We’re not talking about loose change here. The pedometer estimates (yes, estimates- as you can imagine, I’m taking Google’s side on this one) our runs are almost half of what Google says they are. Seriously.
After the second day of these mixed results, I decided to leave the thing at home. Dan, though, insists on bringing it with us and telling me, at the end of each run, how much New Balance thinks we ran. I do my best to block it out.
The more I think about this mathematical oddity, the more dense I feel. And now that I’m starting to think about (maybe) signing up for my first race, I really need to figure out what’s going on here.
So, I ask you, whoever out there uses a pedometer, to map their routes through Google Maps (you can try it at Trails, too) let me know if you notice a discrepancy. Or if, God forbids, my aging mind is missing something here and both Google and NB are correct, each in their own way (is that even possible?).
If I can’t figure this out soon, I might just have to launch an investigation into the business of distance measuring, à la Andy Lehren.