What the hell is Ditch the Tiara?

Redefining the word beautiful...one dirty, sweaty, bruised up mile at a time, with a few downward dogs along the way...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Iron Tiara: Ditch the Gadgets - Published on 303triathlon.com

My most recent post on 303triathlon!
Iron Tiara: Ditch the Gadgets!
By Kristina Jensen
How often do you find yourself staring down at your wrist during a run to monitor your speed or heart rate, completely unaware of your surroundings? Are you in the right zone, or do you need to pick up the pace, maybe slow it down a little? Do you live and die by the data that emanates from your watch, amidst its cold and calculating neon glow? Do those numbers at the end of a workout make or break your day? DOES DOING ALL THAT REALLY MAKE YOU HAPPY?

Over the course of the last few years, I have gained a sense of freedom and overall happiness breaking away from this technology crazed generation of triathletes. I generally don’t even wear a watch. ever. (Hm. Perhaps that’s why I am so dang late to just about everything, and I mean everything.) Am I in love with my iPhone though? H.E.L.L. Y.E.S! No shame here people. And I do run with it, as it blasts melodious tunes into my ear, covering up the sound of my horse-like clopping and heavy breathing. I live at 5,900 feet and there’s nothing quiet or graceful about my running gait. What can I say?
I also have an app on my phone that tracks my time and mileage. Everything I “do” throughout my workout though, is on a perceived effort. Do I “perceive” this run is going to suck because my legs feel like they weigh 100lbs each and decide to slow it down, maybe even walk? Or is my “perception” one in which my legs feel weightless and I am able to fly across the open road like the angel I am? (Right Mom? back me up here.)
If my legs have it in me, this challenge is going to be *my version* of fun. If they don’t, then I adjust quickly to the idea of taking up residence in the pain cave and forge ahead. Swearing and crying. [READ: *MY VERSION* OF FUN] Either way, I rely on my body and my mind to tell me what to do. The same thing happens on the bike. I have a pretty little pink computer that tells me time and distance. There’s no cadence or power being measured. It’s just me and my wheels, rolling through miles and miles of the beautiful 303.
Despite my more, um, relaxed mental approach to data-driven training days, I am a huge glutton for punishment. I welcome it. Please don’t misconceive my lack of training gadgetry as an excuse not to work hard. I work hard. damn hard. But I also know how to shut it all down and just go out and enjoy the elements. Sometimes, I
“stop to smell the roses” a bit too much and my 8 mile run turns into two hours of improving my Ansel Adams-like photography skills because I just have to admire the mountains, or that sunset. All kidding aside, I find it incredibly important to honor the beauty in which I am blessed to live. Being able to swim, bike and run in this gorgeous place makes me…happy.
I am often inspired to get up and run at 4:30am so that I can be the first to greet the sunrise, even if that is done on only five hours of sleep. (FYI, five hours is actually above-average for me...I have been an insomniac since I was a teenager.) Or I’ll purposely head out for an early evening bike ride so that I can bear witness to the power of our infamous late afternoon storms. Sometimes the lightning gets a little too close, and it’s suddenly time for some spontaneous speed work. Last summer while training for IMKY, I got caught in one of the most treacherous thunderstorms on the High Line Canal. At one point, the lightning was so close that I honestly thought I was going to die, as it blasted sideways, barely above the tree line. I quickly assessed my situation, determining that loitering under a clump of very tall trees, or assuming the fetal position under a metal bench would only add to the already increasing chances of my imminent death. I decided that my best option was to run. Fast. Needless to say, when I finished and looked at my splits, (ok, ok…the ONE time I wore my Garmin) I knew the exact moment that Mother Nature opted to test my physical limits. Never in my life have I intentionally been able to run a 6:45 pace for an ENTIRE mile. And I am sure I will never be able to do THAT again, barring all natural disasters of course. THAT is the power in which our surroundings can have over us.
My hope for you as you read over my random musings, is that while you’re out there chasing down your dream, one mile at a time, you are giving yourself the opportunity to experience the power and joy that the 303 has to offer. If Forbes Magazine recognizes Colorado as one of the Top Ten Happiest States in the nation, shouldn’t you know why? I’m not telling you NOT to fixate on your wrist, and maniacally calculate your splits, go for it! Maybe just lift your head up every now and again, and recognize that a PR isn’t the only thing that can make you…happy.

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