Sunday, May 6, 2007

Gadget-Free and Smiley D

I went for a run today and left all the gadgets behind.

No watch. No heart rate monitor. No iPod.

I went running just for the sake of it. I wasn't concerned with how fast I was going, how hard or how little I was working, or whether I was adhering to any training plan (this wasn't on the schedule). I just ran and enjoyed the view.
I immediately felt the liberating effects of leaving the watch and HRM behind. It was nice to just enjoy a run without the weight of some other goal on top of it. My legs moved without much coaxing, my breathing was cleansing.

The absence of the iPod was a little different.

I admit, part of the reason I went out today was to get out of the house and into my head (I grew up as an only child and I have turned this space into quite the playground). For the first quarter-mile, I hummed some little songs (iPod residue). That quickly gave way to daydreaming about things to come.

But once I got into my groove, the real playtime started.

I'm sure you all experience some sort of meditative state when you run alone, with or without music. For the first year or so that I ran, I had no music, so it was always a mental retreat. Once I started setting race goals, workouts became a chore. That's how the iPod entered the picture -- I needed something to get me through it. Today, I got back to the retreat aspects, and it was refreshing in so many ways.

My thoughts meandered and played. I thought of Iowa, road trips past, ridiculous schemes (like the time I announced to Scott that I was going to teach myself calculus), etc. Here's where I wound up after about an hour:

Whenever Smiley D makes an appearance online (a smiley with a capital D, rather than the widely-used parenthetical smiley), I picture this dog in my head:

Every. single. time. And I always get a little kick out of it.

Really, the parenthetical smiley is so POLITE. But Smiley D is a real cheeseball. A hambone, if you will. He tells you that he likes you, is aware that he is dangerously close to The Line (or else is looking at it in his rearview mirror), is a little pleased with his handywork and hopes you are too. Other times, he's telling you that you'd better have some treats and is drooling on your shoes.

Here, let's put them side-by-side:

:) vs :D

Now that you have this dog in your head, doesn't that capital D put a little silly in those eyes? Parenthesis Smiley looks like he's trying to get away with eating your chocolate chip cookies. Smiley D's got chocolate all over his face and is happy to see you.

The Moral of the Story:

Umm...It's gotta be one of three things:

  1. A low-tech workout is magic elixir for a rut.
  2. A low-tech workout is a quick way to discover just how crazy you are.


3. In addition to the three dogs I already have to keep me company in the trailer park, I also have a junkyard dawg inside my head named Smiley D.


Megan said...

I used to run without music and scorned at those who did until I began triathlon - now I have to have music with everything - I like your idea of going gadget-free - how liberating!

Andra Sue said...

I vote for #2...and a little of #1.

I, too, am seriously addicted to crack...I mean my iPod. When it gets close to a race, I have to wean myself off of it to make sure I can get along without it. :D

Jenny said...

I think it sounds like a great idea to go au naturel with only the birds to accompany you! I don't have an ipod - my little mp3 player only has about 2 dozen songs on it so I get bored pretty fast. I only waear it seomtimes and am trying to get too hooked! And my HRM is junk - cheapo, doesn't read half the time. I still wear it because when it had a readout it seems useful, but it doesn't rule my life too much! (But those Garmin thingies seem pretty cool....) Thanks for the encouragement after my first race!

Salena said...

Good words.

she calls herself the human trampoline said...

Oh man, I LOVE the personification of the smiley. You're so right! Parentheses smiley is the one you can count on when you want to complain about life and how sad you are, but still end on a positive note. In those times, I never go to Smiley D. Smiley D is your friend in party/good times, he really only shows up when it's silly time. I think I trust parentheses more. I still don't know what to make of slanty smile face. I don't think slanty smile face knows what to make of herself...

Also on a sincere happy note, :) I love how you write about this. Your depiction of freedom took me to wide open Wyoming mountain spaces. I miss that!