Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Confessions of Mr Low Tech

Stop the presses (actually….are there still such things as presses?). I bought an iPhone!!

Yes, the guy who embraces the fact that he is very much anti-tech most things has finally caved into the modern world. Who would have thought?

Don’t get me wrong, I love most things high tech runningwise, including the latest in footwear and gear, however elsewhere we don’t own a TV, replaced our gas lawnmower recently and much prefer cooking our dinner by campfire in our backyard to having a night out on the town or going to a movie.

With the nature of my business and the way Spafford Health and Adventure is evolving though, it is imperative that I have consistent access to email and phone. Part of the straw that broke the camel’s back is that living in what some would call ‘the middle of nowhere’; our rural wireless internet provider can sometimes be very inconsistent and be down for periods of time. This is not good.

So, I figured it was just a matter of time before it happened, but I have to admit that it was a bit nervous and reluctant over the whole ordeal. Even on my way to pick up my new phone I happened to bump into my friend Keith whose response to this was ‘Doing away with the carrier pigeon huh?’ Knowing Keith, I expected to hear him follow this up with, ‘Nothing tastes better than BBQ’d carrier pigeon’.

So, it’s been a few days now and I’m finally beginning to figure things out. Actually, I had originally bought a Blackberry, but after a day of using it, I realized that the iPhone is a better fit for my business needs so took it back (sorry again Kim).

My initial worry of becoming one of those people who are constantly playing with their iPhone and spend far too much time with it seems to be almost the reverse. I have found that it has actually freed up time for me in that I can quickly check my email without having to sit down to the computer, which quite often ends up with much wasted time mindlessly surfing the internet. Being able to reply quickly to emails and staying on top of things will make it that much easier to be more efficient and better organized.

A huge plus for me is that if I am away from the house for a number of hours, say maybe out for a long trail run perhaps (?), I can still check my email and have regular contact if need be. In fact I tried this out during my 4+hr run yesterday and it worked like a charm.

Now this is where things start getting really weird for Mr Low Tech. I have never, ever listened to music while running, but since my iPhone is also an iPod, and I was partway through a particularly long, boring, straight and flat section of railtrail, I decided to try it out and see what the fuss was about. For this type of run, where you are running through uninspiring terrain, I could definitely see the benefit of it and must say that I enjoyed rocking along to The Pogues, Steve Earle, Social Distortion, The Clash and Ramones. It was not long after though that I was caught redhanded running along while happily grooving to tunes as Sara drove past me on the road that connects the trail to our house. Mr. Low Tech was totally busted. I felt like a cat with its paw in the goldfish tank. Opps, guilty as charged.

Gosh, even though I am not a religious person, I feel like this is kind of like confession.

I am actually pretty excited though about how much more efficient I am going to be able to be with work. Now, as far as listening to the iPod/iPhone for every run, I can’t really see it happening. It was really nice getting back out on the trails today and listening to the wind, birds, chipmunks and the rest of things that make trail running so wonderful.


Training Summary (May 31-June 6):
Feeling good to be ramping back up for a few days, but also throwing in some decent recovery days too. Even got in a good tempo run on Friday. Knee continues to improve, but achilles has been a bit stiff still at the beginning of runs. Looking for a bigger week again for next week.

Total # of hours last week – 12:20
Total # of hours this year – 253:07
Streak – 7,468 days of running in a row


  1. OK, good choice on the iPhone. Your next step needs to be downloading an application called Angry Birds. It will truly revolutionize your business productivity. Trust me. Plus, it's free.

    I can't believe you even know how to use the thing... Good luck getting it back from your kids when they see it.

  2. hey Derrick, do you always train by time instead of distance? What are the advantages/disadvantages?
    I've always trained by distance, mostly because I'm anal about miles. But the time for a given distance varies so wildly depending on terrain that sometimes I've wondered if time would be better... is it better or just preference? :)

  3. I will take a picture of your sisters this Friday in Vancouver with my iPhone and e-mail it to your iPhone while they are having their pedicures. It will be great to take pictures of the wildlife you encounter on the trails,with the iPhone. Download the Zoom Photo app. it's free, so you don't have to get too close to the bears to take their pic.

  4. So you just happen to have head phones with you on your run. I call foul!!
    No emailing/browsing/texting while running - too dangerous.

  5. John,
    Thanks! I knew I could count on your for some good advice in this regards. I'll be sure to check it out. If angry birds is as helpful to business productivity as pacman, I will be all set.

    You nailed it saying that times vary so much with distances on trail that it really makes no sense to count miles. I've long preferred hours vs miles for many reasons. Before the time of GPS watches, I switched to hours as I wanted to run trails more and not roads and knew there was going to be a wide range. It was very liberating and I strongly feel that it has helped me enjoy the sport (ie healthier and consistantly) for a much longer period of time by taking some of the stress away from thinking I have to get in X miles or X miles at X pace. Going by time is particularly beneficial on recovery days where the key is to recover. Your legs don't care on these days how many miles you get in, but the purpose is gentle running to aid in recovery to get you ready for your next hard effort. It is beneficial, but not entirely necessary, to have benchmark workouts where you can lock into a certain pace though, especially if/when training for a flat road race. Your comment about being anal about counting miles makes me think that you might find the switch to time a better way to go. You would still have a rough idea of total miles per week, but it just takes the emphasis off of it and encourages you to run more by feel. Chris asked a similar question on the 'Fred's Bread' post last month, and not sure which reply makes more sense or if either do :) Hope this makse sense.

    Say hi to Deb and Karen. I still need to get out there to get a pedicure at your spa for my beautiful ultra runner feet.

    I 'could' have just been listening through the speaker on the iPhone;)

  6. I almost drove into the ditch, the shock was so great. :)

  7. Sara,
    Isn't there a new law about ridiculing iPhone runners while driving? ;)

  8. Yeah I thought of that, but then how would Sara have known you were listening! bad bad bad. Next you'll be downloading woodland sounds to listen to while running in the woods ;)
    Yup you'll be twittering and blogging from the trails anytime now.

  9. Welcome to the dark side. I have to say, I really like the darn thing. Feel a bit anti-Canadian for not going BB, but apples are red, right?

    How does it feel to know your phone is already obsolete?

  10. No ridiculing, I was very nice didn't you think? Whilst ellipticalling this winter I watched 3 episodes of The View....Who am I to judge?

  11. David,
    Sara knew I was listening to music only because of my wicked dance moves mid running stride:)

    Yes, David brought it to my attention that I should have held off for the 4.0, but I kind of like the fact that mine is obsolete now. Feels a little more primitive:)

    You are such a TV junkie! Soon you're going to say that you're secretly watching new episodes of the Brady Bunch!?!

  12. Ahahahahaha . . . that is too funny . . . you listening to music on the trails. I would have loved to have seen that. I will be looking for you when I am on the trails now - a sight to see for sure!

  13. Everyone knows you roast carrier pigeon!

  14. Clive,
    Not to worry. It won't be a common sighting on the Yarker trails.

    Thanks for the clarification. Do I have to turn in my vegetarian membership card if that almost sounds appealing?