The great thing about running is that all you need is a pair of shoes and the open road. Then why is it that, of late, my runs have been plagued by a whole host of technical glitches and gadget meltdowns? The culminating bug actually interfered with a significant father/son moment. Outrageous!
Although I run most mornings well before the kids wake up, my oldest son has been curious about my running and has been asking questions. He’s also taken to announcing that “he’s going out for a run.” He comes back sweaty and describes his route. He’s gotten more serious about his sports lately, so it kind of makes sense. I support his impulse, but he is only in the 6th grade, so it’s really important that he only exercise in a way that is healthy and age appropriate.
This weekend, he asked if he could go for a run with me. I was, honestly, pretty excited about the request. It was something healthy and active that we could do together. Without getting crazy, or falling victim to Competitive Dad Syndrome, I could encourage some good habits.
But what kind of run? I had the perfect thing: the “Anytime, Anywhere” Nike+ workout that I have on my iPod. It’s about a 40 minute general workout with some short intervals of running, and lots of simple, basic, body weight calisthenics like squat thrusts and planks and lunges. It’s a great workout, while still simple and general. Perfect for a younger athlete (or his old geezer dad). Except I couldn’t get the damn thing to work! My son fidgeted by the side of the track while I tried and tried to get the 40 minute mix with voice-over instructions to work. Restarting the iPod finally shook the playlist loose. But I nearly lost my temper and/or missed my window of interest from my son.
This is only the most recent, and most annoying running tech/gadget failure. Also:
My iPod Nike+ fancy pedometer rig mysteriously re-calibrated itself, sending my split times through the roof and my motivation through the floor. Finally tested it on the track and promptly re-did the calibration.
The new Nike+ website which I am using to set my training routine for the Austin (Half) Marathon in February completely crashed, taking all my training data with it. The customer service experience was frustrating. Getting the whole thing reset was easy once I got it figured out, but I felt woozy and disoriented there for a minute.
I can’t even talk about the run that I lost for the Human Race 10k. But that was human error. But I don’t want to talk about that.
When it works, I love me some running tech. I like the Nike+ updates of distance and pace during a run, I enjoy tracking data on the Nike+ website, and I genuinely depend on the training suggestions to keep me on track for a safe and injury-free distance race. But I also am starting to understand these kooky barefoot guys and purists. when I’m tempted to say, “Sorry, son, dad can’t run with you because his iPod is buggy,” something’s not right.