Inspiring technology?

Posted in at 8:12 by RjZ

What an amazing little device. With the processing power of an eighties era mainframe, and a multi-billion dollar satellite system backing it up, this new wrist mounted fitness coach is going to propel me to new heights!

When I moved to hiking and rock climbing Mecca: Boulder, Colorado, I promptly realized that, if I was going to take advantage of it all, I was going to need some work. After living just above sea-level for a few years, I picked up running so that I could manage the hiking at altitude. Eventually I found hobbies that didn’t hurt so much but after not one but two sprained ankles last year (maybe the new plan wasn’t so good after all) and an unmistakeable sign of age: a back problem, it had been a while since I’d actually pretended to do any exercise.

This season, I started early and was feeling pretty good about myself. My pace on a local 10 K trail was slowly improving and was already pretty admirable. I was starting to think maybe I might be able to keep up with, maybe, someone else; or, even pass someone on a trail sometime. Alright, that last part is just wishful thinking, but running supposedly releases all these endorphins, so that’s my excuse.

Gadget lust and a 40% off sale at the local outdoor store were just the gentle nudge I needed for me to pick up a nifty little GPS watch that could track my pace, heart rate, elevation, calories, distance, location, and maybe leading economic indicators. You’re thinking silly toy. I prefer to think of it as inspiring technology.

So I strapped on the heart rate monitor, cinched up the wrist strap and hit the trail. Things didn’t start out so well. It seems the smart-ass little computer insisted that my pace wasn’t exactly as fast I had thought it was. Maybe I was a bit tired after the bike-ride the day before. (Did I mention that crazy watch told me I was about to die during the ride? It warned me that my “heart rate was too high.” It wasn’t for once; I was coasting downhill and the monitor lost contact somehow.)

Huffing and puffing along, the nagging little wristwatch suddenly squeaked “it’s a been a mile!” A mile? that’s it? I’ve been running for a while already it must have been more than a mile. Doesn’t matter, I’ll check it all out on the computer when I get back. Just keep running. I pass by the trail sign which claims I’ve gone 2.4 miles, but this moronic ‘fitness computer’ seems to think I’ve passed just two.

On my way back and my legs are getting stiff but for some reason, this lying piece of silicrap on my wrist seems to think that was only five miles, instead over six like the nice sign said. I finished the run. It wasn’t my best run, slower than usual (the damn watch made sure I didn’t forget that!) But the real problem is that my race worth pace wasn’t looking so impressive. If this path really is five miles instead of six, then running it in under an hour isn’t all that big of a deal.

When I got homе, I plugged the lying bastard GPS into the computer to investigate. 5.1 miles. I uploaded the data to another program. 5.1 miles. There it is. I’d been living a lie. Sweet delicious lie where I am fast and athletic. Six miles in under fifty minutes is pretty good. Five miles in the same time isn’t. How is this going to inspire me? No wonder it was on sale! Stupid evil technology. Mean, rotten, GPS wristwatch says all the panting is for nothing and I’ll never get faster. The watch lies I tell you, it lies.


  1. Tim R. said,

    May 10, 2008 at 14:08

    I would agree. The GPS does lie. They don’t seem correct properly for slope. And they can be astonishingly inaccurate when tilted, there is a sunstorm, the view of the sky is obstructed in rough terrain, etc.

  2. RjZ said,

    May 10, 2008 at 16:49

    Thanks! I’d love to believe it was lying and personally, I am going with that. Except I don’t know how to explain that when I laid out the path in Google Earth it showed the same distance. Nevermind, you’re right…sun spots. Yeah, that’s it. I’m fast. It was sun spots.

  3. aaron said,

    May 11, 2008 at 17:23

    Modern technology just
    can’t haggle properly.

  4. erin said,

    May 12, 2008 at 17:51

    what’s next with technology? will the DMV weigh me to ensure i have the correct weight on my license? i think sun spots cause me to always be 5 pounds lighter on my license.

  5. Traveling Hypothesis » Riding for a cause is better than training said,

    June 29, 2009 at 17:03

    [...] but it doesn’t feel bad either. It wasn’t actually 175 miles, according to the GPS, but well [...]

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