Friday, February 21, 2014

The Evolution of Running

So once upon a time, not that long ago, getting ready to go running meant putting on some old tee-shirt and elastic shorts, grabbing my walkmen, finding a mixed tape I wanted to listen to (pre-2006), and then heading out the door. These were much simpler times.

Fast forward to about six years ago when I began running with even greater frequency. It suddenly seemed like a good idea to wear shirts that were specifically designed for running. Considering that at my peak I was running 7-10 miles in the late afternoon on hot July days in the malarial swamp known as DC (and right next to the river), this was a good idea. I also got some fancy new running shorts and some socks specifically geared for running, and I was all set.

Then, after coming dehydrated after every run because all I had to drink were a few quick gulps at the water fountain, it made sense to start carrying a water bottle, and to have a fannypack (or something like it) in order to carry it. I can thank my wife for this wise investment, which did help improve my running performance.

Ah, but now in this advanced age I really want to be able to track my runs. Sure the trails I run on have mile markers, but not every step of the way is marked. I really want to know exactly how far I run, and it would also be nice to have each run recorded for posterity, tracking not only the miles but average pace and estimated calorie burn. So I downloaded the RunKeeper app, and have it set to go just as I walk out the door for my run. This does require me to have my smart thing (I've got a Galaxy Note, so calling it a phone just seems inappropriate) with me when I run now.

Ah, but this is only an estimate. Wanting a more accurate gauge of my calorie burn I decided to go out and get this. Compared to similar devices it's pretty cheap, but so far it seems to do a pretty good job of providing me an even more accurate of my calories burned not just during exercise, but throughout the day.

So I'm not really sure what's next. Perhaps having myself fully wired to measure the full metabolic impact of my runs? Maybe purchasing a drone to follow me and film my runs? The sky's the limit.

Now, does any of this crap actually help? Well, having some Gatorade on those longer runs is a good idea, or else I'd be losing 2-3 pounds of fluids per run. The shirts and socks are perhaps slightly more comfortable than what I used to wear. After that, it does all seem a bit absurd. Then again, the idea of just running miles and miles "for fun" is a bit absurd itself, isn't it?

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