Today's TIaRT post is about technology and running.
I started out running by just throwing on my sneakers and heading out the door. That's what running was (or so I thought).
One of the first signs of technology creep was the web site MapMyRun.com. I could go to the site, plot my route, and get all sorts of cool information, from mileage to elevation charts.
Another site I use is Google Docs. I keep my running log there, obsessively tracking every mile, how many miles per pair of sneakers, pace information, etc.
I also started running with an iPod. A little musical boost. My silver one died, so I was running with my wife's pink one. (Yes, I'm comfortable enough to do that).
After doing that a few months and obsessively plotting each turn and corner in MapMyRun, I opted to buy a Garmin Forerunner 305. That is the bomb. I really turned into a running geek then. Real time pace information, mileage, all that stuff. I still don't even use all of the features of it, but I love it.
You can then offload the data to your computer using various software. Garmin has some, and I also like this SportTracks software, which integrates a nice sexy map to show you where you've been.
Along with the Forerunner, I got a heart rate monitor. That was something I didn't know much about (and admittedly still don't).
Oh, and a cell phone. On long runs. Just in case. (Plus, it doubles as a camera to take pictures for later posting)
After a while, I looked at myself, and I felt like some sort of bionic creature. All sorts of crap strapped on, just to go out and run a couple of miles. And so, the shedding began..
The first thing to go was the heart rate monitor. It was strapped against my chest, and I couldn't get used to it. My male mind felt like I had some sort of bra on or something (although I'm told that would be a completely different feeling).
Next up was dropping my iPod. I would just go out and run, and let myself get immersed in my thoughts and enjoy the outdoors.
Occasionally, I'll go out now without my Garmin, and just run. (I still wind up going back to MapMyRun, just for OCD's sake and keeping my running log up to date.)
Now, I'm back to using my iPod occasionally (my wife bought me a new one, so I'm back to a manly color). It's not one that does the Nike+, another potential technological running obsession, so that's both good and bad. :)
Technology is a double edged sword, in my mind. It does help to some degree. It makes running more enjoyable and trackable.
...But in the end, it's still all about putting your shoes on and getting out the door.