Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Do You Have The Time?

I took the speedometer off my bike. For some reason when it is there I am enslaved by it. I hold myself to an expectation of maintaining a certain speed. Though it was frustrating at first, I feel like I am riding stronger without it. Of course, that could be entirely false as I don’t have a way to measure how fast I am going, but it feels that way. It has allowed me to focus on other things and has been quite liberating.

I have always been a little obsessive when it comes to measuring time and distance. I’m always counting things. It’s 8 miles and there are 7 lights and 9 stop signs. How many minutes does it take? If I push x amount faster, how will it affect y? I use the numbers as a distraction by trying to calculate in my head different things like exactly what time will I arrive. I also use the measurements to judge myself. As if it really matters if I ride to work in 26 minutes or 29. I can tell you that the difference in effort between those 3 minutes is substantial!

Sure there are some times when actual measurement of time is important. For instance, how long you cook your chicken or what time you get to work. I can’t deny, with endurance sports at least, that paying attention to measurements can help you reach a greater potential by incrementally pushing yourself further. For the most part however, I think I pay far too much attention to the arbitrary units of time and distance. Occasionally I forget and must force myself to remember the joy should actually come from the doing and not whether it took less time than yesterday or not.

It’s possible that I would actually enjoy things more, and perhaps get more out of it, if they took longer. My speedometer is off but I’m still wearing the watch. For now.

“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

Week of September 13 – Run 48, Bike 64


  1. Absolutely!! It's so liberating to, once in a while, strip yourself from the devices and just go. I feel that way when I run....my friend Jenifer took me on a 4.5 mile loop around her neighborhood (at 6700 ft elevation) and told me it was only 3 miles. I sailed through it! Only to find out that I'd gone further than I thought! Give your body some credit once in a while, right? And just enjoy what's around you, what's going on, no matter where you are.

  2. Sweet! It's amazing how the mind will do that. Set out for 10 and 5 comes easy. Set out for 5 and you're in pain at 4.

  3. That's another reason I like the Garmin. I can take it off the handle bar mount, turn it on and throw it in my bag and still have the historical information without having the distraction, or enslaving information in front of me. I do this while trail riding quite a bit. I don't need to know anything during the ride, but I like to have the data to play with and look at later. I'm a nerd.