See? That got your attention didn’t it? Sorry to disappoint you. I don’t mean naked naked. Not streaking. That’s weird.
I mean, running without technology. Technologically naked.
I started to realise that my running was becoming very driven by numbers. This was intensified when my watch or iPhone would die mid-run and suddenly, my run was “ruined.” I would be angry at the technology and somehow feel as if the run didn’t count.
When my Apple watch battery wouldn’t last as long as my long runs, or when my iPhone just died leaving me with just the sound of my two plodding feet, it seemed disastrous and impaired my running in a way I can’t really describe. The joy of my early days of running was completely gone. If I wasn’t maintaining perfect 8-minute miles or I couldn’t see digital evidence that I had indeed covered all 10 miles of a run, I was annoyed.
The technology was even impacting my day-to-day, making me feel shameful and guilty when I didn’t reach my step count because I was taking a rest day or felt tired. It was a persistent reminder of failure and I didn’t like it. It stopped being motivating. Wearing all this tech was turning me into an anxious robot.
So lately, I have ditched it all while exercising. No smartphone. No music. No watch. Both of them. The Fitbit Versa and the Apple watch are in the closet, batteries drained. I put a new battery in my lovely rose gold Michael Kors watch and wear that day-to-day. It literally just tells the time. What a novelty!
As a result, something really magical is happening. Naked running and exercise feels more peaceful, sharper, more…present in real life.
For a while, technology was enhancing my running. It provided feedback that my effort was yielding results and it felt validating and important. But I think there’s a tipping point. For me, running has been a source of relaxation. I find peace in running much the same way others describe a yoga class or a hot bath. It lets me escape the world for a little while and recharge my batteries when I’ve had a human overload. It allows me to reset and put things in perspective. It melts anger and helps me solve problems. It is my meditation.
The irony of course, is the name of this blog: Thoughts and Pavement. This very inspiration for the title of this blog was trying to capture my description of running. It wasn’t called Running by the Numbers, or my quest for a Boston Qualifying time. It was just about running. Me, the pavement and my thoughts. I’m trying to get back to that feeling.
I make no promises about my naked running. I’m sure I’ll return to numbers soon enough. For now, I’m just enjoying the peace that no wearable device can offer. It reminds me of why I started running in the first place. With all my big races behind me for 2018, I think this is a good place to be.