Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Perspectives on technology

Sundays are precious days for me. I lie in until 6.30am, get up, make myself a coffee and tidy up the kitchen. Then, weather permitting, I don heart rate monitor, iPod and running shoes (OK, and a pair of shorts, and a t-shirt) and embark on a 6-mile run.

A couple of Sunday morning's ago there was a fine drizzle in the air, and I decided to leave the iPod indoors. As the run takes about 50 minutes to complete I was a little worried about the 'boredom factor' kicking in sans musical accompaniment. I am aware that my conversation is scintillating to other people, however I already know the punchlines to my outrageously witty jokes, and I'm familiar with my huge store of scintillating anecdotes.

As the run progressed, I was surprised to discover that not only was it no more boring and painful than usual, I was also more aware of what was going on around me. The sound of the wind in the trees. The rush of cars passing by. The rhythmic 'thump, thump, thump' of trainers on pavement. I felt more orientated. More balanced.

Last weekend the strap on my heart rate monitor broke. So this weekend I ran without it. Or my iPod. I didn't even time my run. Once again, I enjoyed the freedom of not being 'paced & chased' by the readout on my watch. I'm fairly sure I ran slower, but not by much.

I'm aware that these events' charm resided primarily in their novelty value. And that using the pulse rate monitor has provided me with good feedback on how different levels of exertion 'feel' to me. Before I used the pulse rate monitor, I know that I used to work too hard, preventing me from gaining some of the benefits of running, and making me hate the exercise even more than I do now!

Long-term, I'm sure that I will use the iPod on some of my runs, and the heart rate monitor for most of them. But it was good to discover that I'm not completely dependent on them.