Got a Garmin, Have No Pride, etc.

"This is a first draft, last minute attempt to lash together a vague preamble, of sorts, with regard to the obvious question: what the fuck are we doing here in Elko, Nevada, in a corner of the Stockman's Hotel about 200 feet from the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks on a frozen weekend in late February?" --HST

Yeah, so I imagine that the rise in blogging as a literary form is one of the reasons that the good Dr. Thompson put 200 lead pellets through his brain a couple years ago. But if it wasn't that reason, it would have been another. So, WHY NOT?

Well, before that, why? I blame Mikey. And anyways, I just wore a Garmin and a heart rate monitor for the first time on a run. I've been wearing an ipod now for the last couple of months. All of these instruments and contraptions I have mocked mercilessly and endlessly.

Why not forsake all pride then and make this shit-show public? Hell, times change, why can't I?

Here comes the strange philosopher-quote. It's Paul Virilio, worrying about virtual forms of communication and the elimination of physical space. "If being present really does mean being close, physically speaking, the microphysical proximity of interactive telecommunication will surely see us staying away in droves, not being there anymore for anyone, locked up, as we shall be, in a geophysical environment reduced to less than nothing." The blogosphere does this. A million monkeys sharing their narcissism without space or time: the zero-point of proximity. More than shoved up against each other, closeness seems like a distant dream. So, I'd say welcome in if I knew how the fuck I'd ended up here in Elko [which is not where I am].

But this post is supposed to be about Garmins. I won a Garmin 405 for my role as pacer in the Country Music Half-Marathon a week ago. It took me a while to figure it out, charge it up, make sure that it could communicate with both the satellites and that lump of flesh quivering in my chest. But not so long considering the task. I slapped it, wrapped it around my wrist and headed out the door. It was a normal day.

And as I ran along, I watched my heart rate bounce around. The sun was hot--it was noon before I was out the door--and the recent rains has made normally gray Nashville verdant and steamy. When I'd run a mile, the thing beeped at me. It let me know that I had company. It was the same run that I'd done many times before. But now the satellites tracked me. And as proof, each step I took was pictured on the world-wide web. There it was: tangible, verifiable, quantifiable PROOF that I'd gone for a run. A little red line that wound around. I'd been watched, and recorded, from a God's-eye-view.

I showed it to my wife, who pretended gamely to be interested.

I'm not sure what to make of it all. This morning I didn't wear the Garmin. I went for a run with Jamie. It was sloppy-muddy. I had that slick stuff all over my hard legs. I ran without my shirt, too, and felt late spring sunshine. We chatted, Jamie and I, about this and that. His upcoming 100 miler. My recent marathon. How to get faster, mowing the grass, the cliffs and high falls behind the house where I grew up. After the run we sat down in the creek. The water numbed my legs and sand washed down into my shoes. It was cold enough to take your breath away.

A cold like Elko, Nevada. Not the cold that satellites know, up above, off the earth, out in space.

Welcome to my blog, yo.


  1. And somewhere in a van down by the river, a hippie lost his wings.

    er something.

  2. It's okay. Blaming me is all the rage these days.

  3. I embrace the technology while not becoming a slave to it. I know you're a purest and all, but I like the objective feedback that I can couple with the subjective feedback and make adjustments as necessary.

    Ok, I am a nerd.

  4. I can't imagine training without my 410. I don't care that it's tangible or public or posted. Every mile is there and I can dissect every workout to any split I need. With the click of a button I can look 1 week back, or 1 year back. Training becomes science and injury prevention becomes a few sentences on an activity log.


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