I have always been old school when it comes to technology. In middle school I was likely the last kid to convert from VHS tapes to DVDs as well as from cassettes to CDs. In fact when it comes to music I still play CDs in my car and I still use a second generation, 2 GB Ipod. I grieved the downfall of MySpace, AIM and Xanga and cursed Facebook each time it changed its layout. I shun Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I only gave into buying a smart phone when the keys of my beloved qwerty keyboard began to stick after 3 years.
For nearly my entire running career I stuck to an anti technology mindset. If I was forced to use a treadmill I would relent and play music to cure boredom, but if I was running outside I heard only the noises around me or the voice inside my head. I wore only a regular sports watch when running road races as I couldn’t always be certain there would be someone at the mile splits calling out times. I relied on my car’s odometer or the amount of time a run took to determine the distance I ran.
When I worked at Bank of America years ago we could earn rewards which could then be redeemed for prizes. One of the prizes I picked was a Garmin watch to give to Jason. I thought I would possibly use it to determine how long a new running route was but never anything beyond that.
Fast forward a few years. My Garmin watch has helped me to map my mileage through my town, determine the accurate mileage of all the old routes I ran in high school and college and mostly importantly, help me train for my 2nd half marathon. I always thought I was rather good at internally knowing my pace while running, but in June my Garmin proved that I wasn’t quite as fast as I thought I was and that I had some work to do.
My Garmin humbled me while also assisting me throughout the summer to ensure that I wasn’t starting out too fast or slow. My Garmin kept me honest on the number of miles I completed. My Garmin encouraged me when I saw my mile times get faster as I grew stronger. My Garmin frustrated me when it showed that I had only .1 mile remaining and forced me to run around a parking lot to finish the full run. My Garmin showed proof of my running accomplishments and my Garmin made me panic when it would beep that its battery was low.
When my Garmin showed 1:31 at mile 10 of my half marathon it set into motion the physical and mental push that resulted in my breaking 2 hours for my 2nd half marathon – the Blue-Gray Half Marathon.
I have gone for two runs since completing the Blue-Gray half marathon. Both were routes I had ran previously so I knew the mileage. I knew my body needed recovery time, so I chose to not wear my Garmin as to truly run a pace that felt comfortable without any pressure. It felt very strange both physically to not have something on my left wrist as well as mentally to not have something holding me accountable to a distance or a time.
I completed my first half marathon in September 2013 without the use of a Garmin. I am still proud of that accomplishment. After using my Garmin to train and complete my 2nd half marathon though, I can say that I never want to train for another without it. My Garmin has earned its place along with my Brooks and sunglasses as an essential piece of running gear.