The Stuff of Running
by Patrick Reed
Okay — I confess, I have fallen back to “Watcher” once again. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, quick go read the most popular article on my blog — “The 4 Stages of Runners” — right now… and meet me back here asap:) For the rest of you who understand my shame… I went out, the afternoon before my recent 50k ultra, even dragging my 5-year-old daughter along — shameless me — and I purchased another GPS-enabled watch.
There. I have said it. I ask for your forgiveness and understanding.
Only problem — it feels so good. It feels so right. To have stats available off the grid at my beck and call. To hear my splits chime into the visible face of my brilliant watch and to see my distance accumulate as I dance along the path of my race… Such feedback is almost as nice as my run itself. The watch, designed with me in mind, I suppose, seems to know just when to switch modes back to regular time and then to speed and distance run. The marketers have indeed read my mind.
The rediscovery of the “need” I have for my glorious watch pushes me to see other real needs in my running life. I must have, for example, a few new long sleeve lycra tops — for lounging about before runs and around the house … and maybe during a very easy run every now and then. On race day, or at expos the day before, such shirts are key casual wear.
And glasses — gotta have them. Especially for the road marathon. Dark glasses – or lighter, tinted yellow for the trails – are great for relaxing the face, intensifying the glare which surreptitiously awaits the moment to attack from behind the glass. Such shades are doubly helpful to me who has a lot of hair which ever wants to tangle in my eyes with each stride. Yeah — gotta have the glasses.
Then there are my new kicks. Two quite light pairs – unthinkable as trainers just 10 years ago. One, designed for and by Scott Jurek, himself, are Brooks Cascadia’s; the other pair, a super light pair of Nike Air Pegasuses. Although I have previously written that I think I will just run right through my multiple pairs of 5-year-old Pegasuses, looking to wear them through so as to land on my bare feet at just the right moment —- These days, not so much. The ching of the cash register — or better put — the bleep of the credit card’s acceptance and payment – is readily offset by the allure of new stuff!
I heard on a new favorite podcast, Talk Ultra — highly recommended, by the way! — a nice back and forth between entertaining host Ian Corless and a cohost about staying motivated in your training and racing. Ian’s thesis was, “Mix it up!” and he listed gear as an easy way to stoke your running passion — especially in those inevitable moments when you are a bit flat.
So there you have it. I have said it. I like gear. Although I routinely wax poetic about running free and clear of all of the hype of our culture, sometimes you just have to ante up and dive into the clutter. After all, the ultimate stage of running — “Winning” — ever awaits the failed and dejected “Watcher” – who has again learned the lesson of fleeting materialism.
For now — I am liking my stuff.
Keep rolling the miles!