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Chasing Adam: The Case of the Infidelity Tracker

The electronic trail can be unforgiving.

This is the third edition of “Chasing Adam,” a new column from longtime running writer Adam W. Chase aimed at telling thought-provoking stories from all corners of the running world.

This is based on a true story. Some names and places were changed to protect the guilty. I don’t condone the actions contained herein, I’m only sharing the awkward and unexpected realities of the modern digital domain. Please don’t slay the messenger!

Felicity wasn’t a suspicious wife. Nor was she unsophisticated. On the contrary, she was rather tech savvy and it was that quality that turned out to be the bane of her now-ex-husband, Garth, a typical male who only thought he was electronically advanced but never read manuals.

It all began a few years ago with the gift of a GPS watch. At the time, Felicity was trying to lose some post-pregnancy weight and Garth figured a technology boost would help to motivate her to get back in shape. The couple had always trained together when they met during their heyday of triathlon, before the kids. Felicity used her Garmin for a while but soon found the older technology was more hindrance than benefit, given that she was short on time with the young children to raise, so she couldn’t afford the minutes it took to acquire a satellite lock before she could track pace and distance. Felicity enjoyed the data she got from the GPS so she bought herself a newer, higher-tech version and passed the old watch down to Garth, who began using it on a regular basis.

The problem arose when Garth’s “training” began to involve extracurricular activities. His straying went on for quite some time before Felicity had any clue. It was the technology that snared him because Garth continued to use Felicity’s old Garmin and, from time to time, when she checked her Garmin Connect account, she’d notice extra entries for workouts she hadn’t done. They were Garth’s training sessions instead. It didn’t mean much to Felicity so she ignored what she saw on the account until one day in October, when Garth was supposed to be on a business trip out of the country, Felicity noticed a run of just over 26 miles in Chicago on Garmin Connect.

“How could this be?” wondered Felicity. She was particularly flummoxed by the fact that the run took longer than 4:30. Felicity knew that Garth had been a steady 3:30 marathoner so she looked up the results of the Chicago Marathon and, not finding Garth’s name associated with the time, she cross checked the result with anyone from their hometown. Sure enough, Felicity found the time was associated with Wanda, a woman who belonged to their local triathlon club. Putting two and two together or, rather, one cheating running pacer schmuck together with a homewrecker who was much slower than Felicity, it all made sense. Or, rather, it all made infuriating nonsense.

When Garth returned home from his alleged business trip, even bringing gifts he must have purchased from Chi-Town’s Chinatown for Felicity and the children, Felicity knew her marriage had exceeded its lactate threshold. Being the romantic optimist, she hoped she could reconcile with Garth but those hopes were dashed when Felicity, who was familiar with Wanda’s suburban neighborhood, kept seeing that Garth’s running routes would include stops in that area. To make matters worse, Garth joined Strava and Felicity saw that he had defined a new segment that he named the “Wanda KOM.”

No surprise, but Felicity kicked Garth out of the house and filed for divorce. Garth continued to plead innocence and pretended he was faithful. That required Felicity to procure proof for purposes of the divorce and child custody dispute, a task made all the easier when Garth and Wanda bought his and hers Fitbits and synced them to the same Garmin Connect account to which Felicity still had access. Garth remained a dolt when it came to the workings of activity trackers or else he would have altered his activities or, at least, made them less obvious.

Although it was like watching a train wreck for Felicity, she nonetheless acquired gobs of documented salacious evidence of her miscreant soon-to-be-ex-husband’s shenanigans. Through the combination of Garmin Connect, Strava and Fitbit, she knew exactly when Garth and Wanda went to bed, what their heart rates were and Felicity even had a record of the comments they’d entered on their various training sessions. Prurient incriminations, such as Wanda’s log note, “First run after augmentation surgery. Chest felt tight and I still can’t lift my arms but it’ll be worth it!” Garth’s note back was, “Babe, you look so hot. Love your new boobs!”

RELATED: Chasing Adam—What Does Racing Mean to You?

Years ago, when they were showering after a masters swim, Felicity had witnessed Wanda’s Midwestern tramp stamp of the Dekalb corn cob logo. Apparently, that was a vision of the past because Felicity read Wanda’s comment from a jog, “Had to stop running today because the elastic on my shorts rubbed my lower back and it hurt too much from the laser removal.” Reading Garth’s innuendo-ed “corny” response made Felicity cringe with gratitude that she was no longer with the ass hat. She only hoped her children hadn’t inherited too many of his genes.

Fortunately, justice prevailed.

First, Felicity took Garth to the cleaners when the judge in the divorce proceedings ruled completely in Felicity’s favor after she presented the unequivocal electronic trail to rebut Garth’s tale of lies and deceit. But her sweeter victory came from knowing Garth’s training regimen so she stepped up her own program to one-up her ex. That, combined with the fuel of revenge, allowed Felicity to cream him at a local half marathon. It was meaningful because she knew he always targeted the annual race, all the more so based on this year’s Garmin Connect notes, and it was the race where they had first met a decade earlier. Back then, Garth finished on the podium, a full 15 minutes ahead of Felicity. This year, Felicity pipped Garth at the line, finished first in her age group and buried Wanda—and her implants—by a full 45 minutes.

What do I make of all of this? It’s simply a story about a cheating runner, a tale that sounds unusual yet could be about someone you know. It just goes to show that tracking your running data and pairing it with social media has evolved to such a state that people share much more than they might intend to publish on the Interwebs. Let’s just hope that Garth didn’t cheat by using a bike to set a running KOM.


About The Author:

It’s actually easy to chase Adam W. Chase because, as a guy who just hit 50 and has run more than 150 marathons and ultra-distance races, he’s self-admittedly rather slow. Adam writes a little faster and also serves as President of the American Trail Running Association and works as a lawyer in Boulder, Colo. Adam was inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on April 20.