Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Miracle of Technology

I find technology to be a huge motivating factor for me as far as exercise is concerned, and if you exercise, I would venture to guess that you're 'plugged in' in some way. I started thinking more about the pivotal role technology plays in my physical fitness when I experienced a technological disaster this week.

I think the single most influential technology in exercise is the ipod, because it connects with so many other resources I use, like Nike+, Earndit, and even some gym equipment directly connects to the ipod. Oh, and in case all that's not cool enough, it also plays music. When I had an ipod mishap this week, it felt like a disaster.

I skied during the previous weekend and brought along my ipod for a little slope music. I tucked it in my fleece and forgot about it. I forgot about it for so long that when I did laundry one evening later in the week, I tossed my fleece in with everything else. Then I hung it up to dry and went to bed.

I didn't think about the ipod's absence until the next morning when I was driving to work. Was it in the fleece? Did I take it out and forget about it? I waited in suspense all day with the chemo-brain hope that it was sitting on my dresser or in my gym bag, where I had absent-mindedly placed it.

Unfortunately, it wasn't on the dresser or in the gym bag. Sadly, my ipod was in my fleece. It went through the full washing machine cycle. An hour of soap, soaking, and spinning. It was shiny and smelled rain forest fresh, but not surprisingly, it wouldn't turn on.

In a state of panic, I did some quick online research that indicated that there might be hope. Apparently I'm not the first person to put an ipod in the washing machine, and some ipods do recover from this sort of thing. What I read indicated that while the dryer is a death sentence for all ipods, the washing machine alone doesn't always yield the same results. In the washer, ipod touches fared worse than nanos and shuffles, with shuffles being the winner for routinely surviving washing machine trauma. I felt a bit more hopeful after this, since I have a nano.

In case you're wondering what to do if you don't want to immediately buy a new ipod after running yours through the washing machine, there are a variety of ideas for trying to bring it back to life, among them putting it under a desk lamp, soaking it in a bath of alcohol, placing it in an air vent, and letting it sit in uncooked rice.

I opted for a combination. My ipod spent the next 36 hours in a bag of rice sitting on an air vent. After a day-and-a-half, I ultimately gave in to curiosity and plugged it in to my computer. Miraculously, it not only turned on, but synced up and began charging. Aside from a little condensation under the screen, it seems my ipod has survived it's unintended swim. I don't know if it will last, but for now I'm breathing a sigh of relief and going to the gym to run tomorrow- I'm just two miles from the next level on I'll be on the blue level by tomorrow night, which marks 620 miles ran since I started using Nike+ back in April!

Sometimes I buy myself something to commemorate a milestone like this, but I think this time not having to buy a new ipod is a sufficient reward for this accomplishment- thanks for making such a durable product, Apple!

Hope, Love, Run!
Marathon girl

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Planning the next move

With the holidays done and 2011 stretching out ahead of me, I figured it was time to seek out my next running challenge. I've been looking in to doing a second half marathon. Back when there were still green leaves on the trees, I had grandiose visions of running a full marathon this summer, but after completing a half back in November, I came to two conclusions.

1. I think I need to train for and run at least one more half before I take on the challenge of a full.
2. I love running, not racing.

Don't get me wrong, I could run a 5k every weekend without skipping a beat, but a half is a whole different animal.
This is what I consider running: I love getting up on a Sunday morning, eating eggs and toast while I complete all my weekend-work, then getting dressed and going for a long run. Out the front door. The run goes wherever I say it does. My course. My rules. My schedule.

Racing on the other hand looks something like this: Pack all necessary belongings and hope I didn't forget anything. Figure out how to simulate eggs and toast in a hotel room at 5:00 AM (in case you're wondering, hard boiled eggs and bread and butter are about as close as it gets) Drive far. Wake up terribly early. Get to start line. Wait...and wait...and wait. Run when and where you're told to.

There are some things to love about racing; the sense of being a part of something, crossing the finish line, cheering people on the sidelines, and most of all, training.

So while I don't absolutely love racing, I do adore running to train for a race. Running when and where I want, but still working toward a goal. So, while I don't think I'm ready for a full marathon race this summer, I think doing another half will give me more confidence to work toward that goal. After all, I didn't always think 5Ks were a walk in the park. But hopefully with another 13.1 mile race under my belt, I'll feel more comfortable with the idea of 26.2.

After much consideration and searching, I think I've decided on Boston's Run the Remember, held Memorial Day weekend. I haven't registered yet, but my mind is pretty made up. Aside from being in the middle of a long weekend, and far enough out that I can wait until the threat of snow has passed to start training, the date has significance not just for our country, but for me, but I'll save that explanation for my next post.

In the meantime,
Hope, love, run,
Marathon Girl