Few things divide running opinion as much as technology used on the road. I declare my beliefs from the outset. I do not, and never will, understand why people run with music piped into their ears, even less so in a race!!!! Having never been bored or in need of diversion for one yard of the thousands of miles I have run, it is an utter mystery why runners pollute the serenity and meditative qualities of running with music. I love music. I listen to it often. Never when I run. A run is time when I think, debate or structure thoughts free of influence from an increasingly noisy world. It is meditation in motion for me.
There is one piece of technology I have always used, namely the Garmin or GPS watch. Interestingly, I when look back I recall using a simple Timex ‘Ironman’ wristwatch strapped diminutively to my arm. It did little more than tell the time. Imagine that!!!! I often ask: How did I ever cope without knowing my splits and pace? How did I complete runs with absolutely no awareness of such esoteric details as calories burned, ambient temperature, humidity or cadence? How indeed?
Interestingly, the minutiae springing readily from the generously priced and larger device now adorning my arm still re- mains something of a mystery while running. Why? Because the ravages of advancing age mean that one’s ability to actually SEE this cascade of vital information recede with the passing years. Presbymyopia is my new running companion.
Runners oft times are caught furtively squinting at their watches vainly stealing brief glimpses of precious, nay life changing and critical numbers, conveniently and luminously tattooed to their wrists. I am no exception, but I ask fellow runners to read my watch for me to salve my need for information. Do they wonder if I can actually read? No matter. My craving surmounts any level of embarrassment that might result When, I ask therefore, will Garmin produce the Senior Runners GPS device? We have needs. The market should deliver. There are many of us. We are waiting!!!
A situation recently befell me at a post run breakfast. I had not run that day as I am, sadly, nursing a knee ligament and cartilage injury. This Saturday morning, I joined two friends. Conversation ensued. The joy of a race completed was shared amid humorous excuses as to why they merely strolled and did not race. This made sense to me. At least, it did, until I was exposed to a horrifying admission, read on.
Initially I noted nothing unusual. Then. Quite unexpectedly. One of us, with a fleeting hand gesture, beckoned the others to draw close. Our heads convened semi secretly around the full circumference of the Diner table we occupied in a vain attempt to ensure that NO ONE in the bustling restaurant would notice we might be learning something truly awful, embarrassing and above all shameful. They all stared, it seemed – maybe straining to hear the prospective horror.
Our impending confessor looked both of us in the eye. To make a point, we assumed. Next, she took a slow, deep, calculated breath before speaking in a deliberately hushed tone. Her eyes dropped. She quietly uttered, ‘You know. Today was not at all fast, but I have to tell you, I did not wear a watch’.
We, the listeners, fell back. Aghast at what we had been exposed to. The restaurant may have let out gasps of disbelief. I could not tell. I was caught in a subtle shock zone. Quickly, no doubt, in an attempt to capitalize on the silence in which the victims of this battery a sacred runner’s tenet found themselves; she then added, with an apparent sense of relief,
‘I was running Garmin Free!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
That was it. The air raced out of the room. Garmin Free?
Now, nothing made sense. At all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mark Darley aka Britrunner
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