Uh oh. I should have known this day would come. Over the years I have noticed a tinge of desire here and there, but nothing major, I would just sweep it under the proverbial rug and literally run away from the temptation. As time moved forward, it has invaded my psyche on an increasingly regular basis, and by now there is quite a mound under said rug. It has grown larger and stronger and morphed into a huge monster that wants out, and I can’t ignore it anymore. My friends, I have succumbed to Garmin envy.
To Garmin or not to Garmin? That is the question.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to get faster. I have successfully completed 8 full marathons without much integral data on hand. I don’t run so I can win races, or constantly get a PR, if races didn’t exist, or if I couldn’t afford to pay the entry fees, I would definitely still run. But ‘something has changed within me, something is not the same’…I feel like I am only scratching the surface of figuring out the beast better known as the marathon. I know I can run faster, and while I’m still young, I want to take advantage of my increasing speed while I still can. I’m knocking on 30’s door, and there is no turning back! As Mommaberries would say, ‘Girl! You are no spring chicken!’
While in grad school I worked at a specialty running and walking store. I loved my job, I got paid to help other people get more physically active, and help outfit them with new kicks and gear. I really enjoyed the majority of my customers, but there was a certain demographic that could single-handedly ruin my day. The main similarity they all shared? – They all had Garmin’s strapped onto their wrist. When chatting with them, the usual small-talk, they would say things like ‘My finish time was X:XX:XX but my GARMIN said the course was long so I really ran faster than that’ Or, “My run was horrible today, my GARMIN couldn’t find its satellites’ Or ‘My race was ruined! My GARMIN didn’t charge fully and died half-way through the race!’ Statements like this would make me shudder. I wanted to shake them out of their Garmin haze and wipe the drool from their chin and help them snap out of their tech overload. I never wanted to be like those people. Sure I wanted to get faster, but I wanted to enjoy my sport for what it was, and not muddy the waters with unnecessary gadgets that clearly would drive me to the brink of insanity.
There is a part of me that loves data. I obtained my Masters in Exercise Science and have worked as an Exercise Physiologist. Now as a Health and Wellness coach, my professional life revolves around goal-setting, strategies and data. I can’t escape that side of me, but I have never fully allowed that side to blend into my running life. Or so I thought. But I was only fooling myself. I realized that my entire life as an athlete, I had coaches, and those coaches tracked my performance data for me, I never had to. Until I started my blog, I never really tracked my workouts in any sort of log, I never thought I needed to. I just did what my training schedule dictated and crossed off the workout on my calendar. While training for Boston, I began to document all of my workouts, and reflected on how I felt, what I ate, what the weather was like, etc. I ran my fastest marathon time, and had the time of my life doing so. I’m fairly certain there is a direct correlation between the increase of interest in my training data with my improved performances.
I run alone the majority of the time. I know the distances of some of my favorite training routes near my home broken down into mile increments but once I go somewhere else for a run, like a metropark, I have zero clue about my actual mileage, and it is all based on feel and estimation. Not exactly a science.
So. I did something that I never thought I would do. I bit the bullet and ordered myself a Garmin. And I can say with 100% confidence that I didn’t experience a single ounce of buyer’s remorse. I am excited to take my training and race performance to a new level, and see what I can do come November. But I’m only going to use this new gadget in moderation. I vow that I won’t let myself become obsessed with my shiny new toy and let it take over my life. I promise that I will strap on my trusty old non bells and whistles running watch for at least one of my runs each week and all runs while I am not training for a specific event. It’s a delicate balance.
Looks like now I’m going to have to eat some of my previously published words.
Do you think I made the right choice?