Running should be simple - just a pair of shoes and you can head out the door. But of course most of us make it more complicated. Wicking fabrics, monitored heart rates, entire music collections in your pocket, tracking runs with GPS, posting results online, and endless blog posts about it. When it takes you 20 minutes to get ready to head out the door, you start to wonder what happened.
Does all this technology ruin things? There is the temptation to leave the electronic obsession behind, stop talking about it so much, and just go out and run just for the sheer enjoyment. I plan to leave music behind more often, and stop tracking the details so rigidly when I'm not in training. But even though you don't run for the electronic reasons, they can still expand the experience.
Just this weekend, a girl I follow is running in the Ironman championships in Hawaii, a guy I listen to is running the Chicago Marathon, and 691 people are running together in a world wide event. The Ironman is still something beyond my comprehension, so I have been following that one with particular interest. I'll be getting Twitter updates from her father during the race, and will try to catch the online video as she crosses the finish line. I'm not really there, but the technology makes me feel a little closer somehow.
Another technological twist has been rolled out for my marathon next week. A company will upload my progress to Facebook while I am running. There are mats along the course that record when you cross, both to make sure that people don't cut the course, and for geeks like me to analyze the split times afterwards. There will be updates as I cross the 6, 13, 18 and 24 mile mark, as well as the finish line.
So if we are connected on Facebook, you can track my progress semi-live. If not, I will bore you with the details here afterwards.