Magic of Gadgets

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TomTom

Ever since my Garmin died at marathon #2, I have been GPS-less.

So, for my 40th birthday, my husband got me the Nike +Sportwatch GPS. I was sold on it because #1 it doesn’t look like a laptop strapped to your wrist and #2 it is powered by TomTom, which seems to be accurate even in the technological black hole of Franconia.

I’ve been playing around with the watch, and while I wish it had automatic scrolling (like my old, dead Garmin), it does seem to track me eerily well through the farm fields.

The watch has been extremely helpful in figuring out just what exactly I’m doing out there for hours, other than deer watching and gummy bear eating.

The results:

My average pace has increased (most likely due to Crossfit training) by 30-45 seconds per mile, which means I will either PR at my next marathon, or I’ll have more time to stop and eat gummy bears and drink cola at the water stations.

I go faster when I run uphill. Weird, but true.

I go slower downhill. Also weird, but equally true.

My heart rate stays in the 150s for my entire run–hills and all.

With four weeks until my next marathon, I have a little time to play around with training.

I need to learn to keep my pace (and my balance) while going downhill, and I can ease off a bit uphill. I can also try moving a little faster during portions of my run, since my heart has promised not to explode.

I am constantly worried about going out too fast, which is my natural tendency. But with the watch, I can accurately monitor myself, until I can ‘feel’ it without the gadget, which is still preferable to me.

When you run through a lovely green countryside, you should actually see more than the back of your wrist. With a GPS watch, you can get obsessed with numbers, and unless you’re a professional, what difference does it really make?

I’m in this for the long haul, and that means as I grow stronger (with crossfit) my running will improve. As I age, the real payoff will be in the health benefits, not the numbers.

While I am always wanting to challenge myself and improve, my life is not made or broken by three-tenths of a second. So even though I am now numbered among the gadget-people, I also want to keep the joy of running alive.

Because it’s the joy that makes the race worth running.

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3 responses »

  1. When you feel joy, so do we. What a great birthday present, Keri! When we were hiking to the Annapurna base camp, we had a long trek going down into a valley. After awhile, my knees would continue to bend until I was actually ON my knees. I really had to concentrate. I met a couple of physical therapists on the trail and asked about it; they said that the “downhill” phenomenon is common in women. It has something to do with our “girly” hip and thigh structure. So when you seem a bit slower, Mama nature is just trying to protect you from damaging yourself when you run downhill. Don’t blame yourself. Be happy, you have girly hips and thigh bones! You are still our inspiration!

    Love from Tia

    • There is a technique to it. It is part core stability, part tiny, rapid footfalls, and part fearlessness. I may not try it today since it is raining and the roads are slick! I’m not that courageous yet!!!

  2. Addendum: I just found the auto scrolling feature on the watch. My life might be smoother if I read user manuals BEFORE getting frustrated.

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