I picked up my fancy Garmin GPS watch this morning. The sun was shining here in Wisconsin – a beautiful crisp October day was just warming up – and I had the itch to get out in it. I started to strap the watch on, when I realized that it was nothing more than a gray disc with straps. No numbers, no time, no life! A dead battery . . . @#$*!!!
“Now what?” I wondered. Clearly a Plan B was needed to satisfy the statistician in me. The best I could come up with was a plan to check the time in the kitchen before I left and again when I returned. I know my pace, give or take, and on such a beautiful day, this might just be a good exercise in imprecise feedback.
What I noticed was that my pace was not exactly constant. I allowed myself to do whatever made the effort feel constant. As I climbed the hills, my steps were a little smaller, and my speed a little slower. Downhill segments were slightly faster, with longer steps coming easier. I was feeling downright carefree! With no one marking my progress or speed, the morning run became all about the tree colors – magnificent! – and the alive feeling of the cool air on my skin.
Arriving home 37 minutes later, I didn’t really care about the time anymore. With all the technology now available – devices that can evaluate every aspect of our lives – I think it may be a good idea to ask whether or not we know too much. Is all the detailed information we can track, from weight lifting reps to number of calories in our breath mint, surely not all of it is helpful. Are we missing a little of the “soft side” of accomplishment? Let’s not forget how good it feels to move and nourish our bodies. A successfully balanced lifestyle is not as easy to measure as it is to know in great detail our height, weight, blood pressure, . . . .
This is a great day to do what is needed to feel as well as personally possible. And on that note, I’m heading out to give Stella a chance to smell a few light posts and moisten a few leaves. Dogs have mastered the art of enjoying the moment.