Get into the groove

Yesterday I ran my first 10k race of the season. I did so with an injury. This wasn’t a huge deal, as I’d already prepared to minimize this obstacle by doing a lot of advance physio and practice runs. The Advil just before the race also helped. No, it wasn’t the injury that knocked me off my game, it was technology.

Shortly before the race, I secured a new ipod and set of running headphones. I didn’t put the effort into learning this new technology as I did into physically preparing for the run, so I didn’t know how to solve it when something went horribly wrong: my ipod was stuck on Where the Hell is Bill.

I’m not one to run without music, as I prefer not to listen to my ragged, gasping breath. For 9 long kilometres yesterday, that’s exactly what I did. It was either that or get too familiar with Bill.

My failure to understand the technology actually helped me learn something new about myself. First, I had the power to change the channel, so I did. I shut it off and ran music free. We all face obstacles and have to make hard choices, and this was a valid one to make. Second, because I was forced to listen to myself – my breathing, my footfalls, my arm swings – I realized that my form – contrary to my assumption that it sucks – was actually pretty good. I wasn’t scuffing or stomping my feet like the woman next to me (that’s bad, read why here). My breath, though heavy, was controlled and consistent. And for the last 4kms, I actually hit a groove. I NEVER hit a groove.

So, what’s the lesson here? Superficially, it’s learn your damn technology. But more importantly, it’s check your assumptions, because often, they’re wrong.

I’m off for a recovery walk now. This time, I’ll leave the ipod at home and just listen to the birds. And maybe I’ll think about Bill, and where the heck he’s gotten to.