I don’t run with any technology. No phone. No iPod. And I do not run with a watch. This isn’t Graham v. Technology as much as it is my fear of becoming an addict. I already drink too much coffee and run way too much, I don’t feel like I need to add a deluge of information into the mix. Why am I telling you this? Let’s go back in time a bit to this weekend.
As I mentioned previously, this past Saturday was the sixth anniversary of my mother’s passing. This year was a strange transitional year for me. It is the first year I have finally felt that time has passed. The world in which my mother lived in no longer resembles the world in which we live in today. Political concerns have changed. The economy is different. Music no longer sounds the same. Movies have been made and actors and entertainers have themselves passed away. Even I can no long connect with the person I was six years ago. Twenty six is very different from twenty – in a good way. I’m happy with the person I’ve become and am becoming. But, it altogether feels strange to no longer relate. On Saturday night Lara, Peter, and I ate at The Fireplace – it was great dinner. While we talked about my mom, we also talked about ourselves. It was a great mix of the past, present, and future. My sister mentioned to the waitress that I was running a half marathon the next day and she came back with extra bread with a note that said ‘Good Luck!’ on it. After dinner I bombed down to the cape to Meghan’s house about a half hour away from the race in Hyannis. Meghan Ally, and I woke up the next morning, drove to Hyannis while jamming out to some sick tunes and got read for the race. Hyannis was a disaster organizationally. No direction, mass confusion. We were able to get our numbers, jog back to the car and get ready, and then jog to the starting line with only a few minutes to spare, Meghan rocking out to Justin Beiber’s ‘Baby’ that whole time. Yes, I just outted you. We wound up at the front of the line by chance. Meghan had run a 1:46 the previous weekend in Austin. My plan was to stick with here and hopefully make my goal of 1:45. This translates into 8/min per mile splits. The race started. 7:30 first mile. I promised Meg I would slow down. 7:30 second mile. I promise her I would again. 7:26 third mile. She told me to go and set me free from there. I think if you ask her, she’ll tell you it was the most fun three miles of her life. Albeit, a bit speedy for a half marathon. From there I just ran as I felt. At each mile marker I heard people’s gps watches go off and watched them speed up or slow down accordingly. Along the beach road, the wind really picked up – everyone groaned at the force of the wind and looked down, I told a few people “Hey, look left! Isn’t that an awesome view!?” They weren’t entirely pleased with my pep 7 miles in. Miles passed by, watches kept beeping, I kept running. Around mile 11 my hips started to lose their form a bit (I can really feel it today), but I kept control. I came to the final mile. Runners are often told to find that extra gear and really kick it in, I just wanted to stay cruising in the gear I was in. I did go into an all out sprint with 200 meters to go. I’m amazed at how much extra energy I can find when I see the finish in site. Over all I finished with a time of 1:35:08. Some 21 minutes faster than my last half marathon in Providence back in August and not too far off Boston Qualifying time (3:05 for a full marathon). It feels moderately scary that, at least theoretically, I may be able to BQ.
After the race, we went back to Meghan’s, showered, ate, took some hyperactive dogs for a walk on the beach and finally headed home. Here’s private admission: I watched the indoor track championships last night instead of the Academy Awards. I feel vaguely un-American.
But, here’s my point about technology – if I had a watch and ran with that plan, I wouldn’t have run as fast as I did. I would have obeyed a digital timer and gps finder rather than listening to my own body. While I’m starting to see the value in listening to music (13 miles is really far), I think for now I’m going to hold off on a watch. For a while I had been contemplating it. I’m always asking my friends who have watches information during a run. I love information and I always feel a need to know. But, right now my legs keep surprising me in good ways. Until I reach the point where I stop improving and need to manage my own ability, I’m just going to shift the gears until there are no more to shift and run wide open. Yes, I just put that terrible metaphor out there for all to see.