What I Learned On My Technology Vacation

For the entire month of January, I have run without technology. Five years ago, this wouldn’t have meant much, but today it feels like a big freakin’ deal. No music and no social media, and I even dabbled with no GPS. Here’s what happened — the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good …
No wires! I can’t tell you how great it was to get dressed and just run. I didn’t have to strap on an armband or fidget with ear buds or ensure my social sharing settings were juuuuuust right. I didn’t have to find the perfect picture to post, or decide whether to keep my news on Instagram or share it with everyone on Facebook, too. I didn’t worry about whether the song was right or if my phone would crash. I just ran. And I noticed things. Like my breath, my form, my feelings, other people. We even saw (what we think was) a coyote on the trail. Just awesome.

The bad …
That breath I noticed? It was pretty labored, it was heavy, and it made me feel out of shape. I could hear my footstrikes, and it annoyed me. I was bored and tired, and I just wanted to hear Eminem tell me to find that inner strength, to help pull that shit out of me. But he wasn’t there. It was only me, and I didn’t have the words. I needed to dig deeper to find the words. It’s not easy to do, friends.

The ugly …
The biggest issue, and one reason I haven’t ditched the phone until now, was a little more important. It’s the way I seek the approval of friends, acquaintances and complete strangers (seriously). At some point, this had taken over all other motivation to run. I have followers on Instagram (total strangers, BTW) who continuously fuel my passion to run, who motivate me to do better, and this is awesome. But what’s unawesome is running just to post a cool picture or to prove to others that you ran. Who freakin’ cares? Also, I thought my pace was connected to this approval system I had set up, that I only ran fast to prove I could run fast — but that’s another ugly discovery. I run fast because I don’t feel successful unless I’m working EXTREMELY hard. If I go easy or “slow,” I don’t feel good about myself. That has to change, and it has to change now.

Overall, I’m very happy with my decision to go tech-free because it has taught me a lot in a short time. I am going to go back to using GPS to train to pace myself better. I am going to bring music for my “hard” runs, when I need a distraction and another voice in the room. I am not going to use social media to track every mile because the only approval I need is from myself.

I recommend trying it, if only for one day a week. Unplug and run, and get reacquainted with yourself. — Amie

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2 thoughts on “What I Learned On My Technology Vacation

  1. I wholeheartedly endorse what you are saying, if only for a day.

    Liked by 1 person

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