Thomas Edison once said ‘Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.’, the same could be said of my Garmin on Saturday.
Initially I headed out of the door intending to do a quick 5-mile run in between other commitments, in reality, I doubled that distance. The ‘problem’ with my run wasn’t actually in the run itself and, after a lot of thought and consideration, wasn’t really a problem at all, just a minor inconvenience for a data-hungry runner. I clocked off 10.3 miles in 1 hour and 32 minutes, that much I can remember from my Garmin immediately after I stopped running. My Garmin was, indeed, incredibly useful whilst I was out logging the miles as it provided the reassurance that I had, in fact, covered a relatively long distance, what I don’t have access to are the split times for each mile, simply because the file on my Garmin in which the data is stored for Saturday’s long run became corrupted when I tried to upload it to my computer
After every run, I like to look at my split times, see how I faired climbing a hill and, more importantly, whether my speed tailed off towards the last couple of miles. On Saturday I attempted 3 sizeable inclines and it would have been nice to look at the data for those inclines in retrospect to see where I could improve.
The truth is though, all that data is secondary to what my run was actually about, and what running is about for me in the first place. I don’t go out of the door in the hope of clocking off a particular number of miles (okay, maybe I do have a target in mind but it’s not necessarily important), what is important is that during my run I enjoy myself. It’s that simple. Humans were born to run, as Christopher McDougall explored in his fantastic book. If you haven’t read the book already I would highly recommend it. As I charged, or rather thudded, around the streets and trails of my local area, I wasn’t worrying nor did I have to think about what I needed to do when I got back to the house, I could simply stride out, take in the landscape and explore. I fell into a comfortable rhythm and felt as if I could sustain it for a decent length of time, long enough to allow my mind to switch off, if only for a short time, and refocus on what really matters in life.
Just because my Garmin failed to show me a few nice graphs, my split times and how I compared with my previous long runs, does not mean that my run on Saturday was in vein. It provided me with a lot of thinking time, a time to ponder what I wanted to do for the rest of the weekend and in the coming weeks before I have to go back to the monotony of university, it also provided me with the opportunity to run a route that I have never before tried. As much as I was frustrated when the data wouldn’t upload from my Garmin, I have come to realise that it really isn’t always necessary to analyse the fine details of your run, as long as you get out there in the first place and have a good time… and of course, as long as you know how far you have been and how long it has taken you!!