Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jonathan said it was a "negative split", which is a term I'd never heard before. I'm not inclined to the "negative split", and, I suspect, neither are most people, which is probably why I've never heard of the term. Anyway, I'm pretty sure it was my first. I like the idea of it, and it seems perfectly profound: a negative split. As if running was a way of turning and fighting.

And no, really: I passed 506 people after mile 18! I found this out on a neat little graphic interface on the marathon race results page. It also says that 2 people passed me after mile 18, which makes me wonder about their stories. The application is called "RunPix" and it gives you all kinds of handy stats -like average pace, average speed, and a little map showing you where you were on the course when the winner broke the ribbon and made you anonymous.

As well as this:

These things are becoming so teched out, but I love it. There was a big screen at the finish, with all of us crossing the finish line, and it was visible in daylight. And the chips for the times are all disposable now (Why, son, I remember when you had to actually pay a deposit for those!) Mrs. Ditchman was checking the race web site on her iPhone to see what mile markers I was passing, and then she actually called me during the race. My iPod stopped, beeped, and there she was, asking me how the run was going. It was kinda fun, actually, since I was feeling so good. The only bummer was that Google Latitude wasn't living up to expectations so that she could track me in real time on a web map, like Jack Bauer calculating a terrorist intercept. (Still waiting for Loopt to come online for real and for free.)

Additionally, the good Sean was running the virtual half-marathon with us and we were exchanging messages and photos during the run, a thousand or two miles apart. What a future we live in! I sent him a pic of us in the post-race beer tent. He said we looked like we deserved another round. Too bad he couldn't buy us one. (But the technology is there!)

I admit I had a little trouble with the iPhone, actually, since I had forgotten to click off my Voice Activation module and the tiny mic was picking up my heavy breathing and interpreting it as "fast forward". Also, the "jiggle" function was not turned off and was thus shuffling the songs after fast-forwarding them. It took me a mile or two to figure it out.

It was really only the second time or so that I'd ever run with the iPhone, so I was working out some of the bugs on race day. Truth be told, I'm in love with my iPod Shuffle -the last generation. It's orange. It clips on my shorts and feels weightless, as I spring forward with music lifting my heels. I used to be against running with music, but I changed, and those days are now behind me. (Though, I must say running with music on during a race detracts from the experience. I've done two races now with an iPod and I keep the volume low and switch it off when I run past bands, turning it off entirely for the last couple miles.)

And I've used MapMyRun on the iPhone a few times to track my mileage, which is great. But I'm really waiting for a Special Edition iPod Shuffle that accurately tracks your time, distance, and pace on a Google map, and keeps a log of all your runs. Also, it must be tiny and have a clip. It would be an iPod just for runners, but it seems Mac has yet to get so targeted with their products. I'm just putting it out there.

All this tech gear, and I am reading that best-seller on running right now, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, which tells the story of the Tarahumara Indians and their love for running -the purity and the camaraderie of it, and how they do it all barefoot in the wild. It's a good book, and it reminds me that none of this junk matters, that the reasons why we run are so soulful, so human, and so lasting, and that no bit of technological innovation will ever make them any moreso.