Fear not, this is not a NSFW (Not Safe For Work) post that includes the need to apply sunblock to the whitest of white bits.
While away for a weekend in south Wales I had planned to go for a run in the hills (locally referred to as mountains – which they definitely aren’t), and I packed enough kit to cater for weather conditions ranging from the arctic tundra to the Borneo rainforest. One of the things I decided didn’t need packing was the charger for my Garmin.
Come Sunday morning I decide what kit is the most appropriate for the typical Welsh weather – drizzly and a bit overcast – pack a first aid kit and a waterproof in my Salomon pack and dig out my Garmin.
I jump in the car and drive to the other side of the village – I absolutely hate road running in trail shoes – and turn on the Garmin while I have a little warm up. Except the Garmin doesn’t turn on, it just buzzes and the screen goes dark again. I try again, but to no avail. Top battery management.
I have run the first part of the route a few times before, and it’s a solid uphill slog from the outset. The route climbs from the edge of the village for around 3 ½ kilometres all the way up to a trig point at about 270m or so above sea level. It hurts running up here, it always does – but strangely it felt much harder to dig deep and keep going. I manage to summon the will power to keep running. There is a definite sense that no one is watching and it won’t be popping up on Strava at any point.
Time also seems to slow; seconds turn into minutes as my mind plays tricks on me as progress feels sluggish and legs feel heavy. This may have more to do with the alcohol intake at a friends 40th the night before, but it feels far more convenient to blame the Garmin.
It wasn’t all bad, far from it. Despite having little idea of time or distance it was liberating to run without being a slave to data, without the temptation to look down at my wrist to check the time, distance or pace. I could keep my head up and enjoy the views – this was enhanced by the decision to leave the iPod at home too. The sound of birds, the grass crunching under foot and even my heavy breathing all added textures to the increased appreciation for the vistas. Running out in the wilds always makes me feel more relaxed, but without the temptations of checking the data and push for a certain pace. I was just running on feel I felt like I absorbed more of the open space.
I’m not sure I can give up data full time, actually if I’m completely honest with myself there isn’t a chance. I think I am going to set a screen on my watch which only shows total time for my LSRs. I would like to cut my dependency. I cant give up data all together but it might be time to work on my data addiction.