Of all the gadgets I wanted for my sports, a GPS watch is top on the list. The reason is simple: I want to know how far I run when I run. This habit started when I run events, therefore I train, therefore keeping tabs matter. When the interest wane off, I somehow like to keep track of the mileage just because I like to see the details all spread out over a period of a month. Or maybe I am a geek like that.
Last year, I trained by the numbers. I have a 10 ringgit wristwatch to keep track of the time I took to run my daily 5k, just to see if I have improved. When I swim, I glance often at the wall clock and made sure I do not go over the normal swimming time of my 1k. I used a cycling computer to tell me how far I am going and what my rpm is. I am jut short of not counting my heart rate, or my strokes, or my power output.
In short, it was all about the numbers.
Yesterday, I went for an outing with my project team. It was mostly fun and lightweight, but since there was a runner in the group as well, and she's reasonably fit, we decided to run. At first I was being careful, slowing down on the downhill, making sure my pace was steady. But after a while I began to zone out and just ran. I momentarily thought about my knees as I raced downhill with my colleague, zip zapping on the rocks. I was fast, springy, excited, and extremely at home. I thought, "Oh my god I am so dead," as we ran up and down the baby inclines.
But it was worth it.
Truth to be told, I left the world of 'training' after Penang Bridge but gained back the wonderful pleasures of just working out. It is not a Must not but a WANT TO, just like when I was a student. I stopped measuring all my performances - swimming, running, cycling, karate drills, in-line skating, etc - for the simple pleasures of getting sweaty.
I stopped relying on the numbers and begin again to learn by feel - the feel of the winds past my ears to gauge my runs, the burning triceps as I work on my strokes, the ease of climbing for my power output. I no longer am anal about my timing, or distance, instead merely asking my friends about them, to be jotted down into my fitness journal. I do write down the distance, and the time if not for routine. I still like data, although I don't stress about it.
Anyway, running the route yesterday was awesome. It reminded me that I am not dependent on any technology but myself, and that no amount of GPS data, or split timings going to make me a better athlete. Truth to be told, if I can trust my own natural fitness gauge, I feel like I have improved, a bit stronger, with or without all these stuff.
A friend is going to give me her hand me down cycling computer, and as much as I like getting things for free, I wonder what having it would do for me. I have enjoyed riding without knowing anything at all except how good it feels and how bad this motherfcking hill is. I save myself the trouble of feeling the dread knowing that I have another X km to complete.
One of these days, I will try to see if I could just workout without keeping tabs. But for now, I am pretty much, bound by a little bit of data.