Do We Have Too Much Gear?





Dr. J

Copyright © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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At one of my usual trail that I run, a young woman runner was cruising up to the trail head. From this parking lot I have several trail options that range in length from 6 miles up to 20 or more if I’m feeling good.

By the way she was decked out, I figured she was a woman of miles and must done at least the 20 mile option. As I’ve been known to do, (I’m a shy introvert!) I struck up a conversation with her.

But first, I must set the stage. She was wearing the following:

Fastinista clothing from her multicolored knee length socks to the bright purple top,

Ear buds with an IPOD that she was carrying,

The latest Garmin GPS (I know this model because I had drooled over it at the running   store),

A watch that must have included a stopwatch (I saw her mash a button when she finished),

A heart rate monitor (She watched this as she cooled down),

A fanny pack with two bottles and several energy packets hanging from the belt,

Hat / visor, and


“How was your run today?” I asked.

“Fine, how far are you going?” she asked.

“I’ll probably do 10 miles – if the dogs can keep up!” I grinned. I was so curious, I just had to ask, “So how far did you go today?”

“Oh, probably about 5 miles.”

I hide my expression, but 10 pounds of gear for a 5 mile run. Let’s see, that’s about 2 pounds per mile. It would take me longer to get dressed than to run 5 miles. “About? Did you use the GPS?” I asked.

“Yeah, but I haven’t quite figured it out. You know those breadcrumb trails and all,” she said while looking at the GPS.

I applaud anyone who is taking positive steps towards fitness and health. Some runs can be a drag and dreadful, but running can be joyful, exciting, and scenic. While decked out runners may enjoy the run, you may miss the pair of soaring bald eagles that I frequently see on my lake run. While you’re checking your heart rate, the GPS to see if you are on the trail, and stopwatch so you know when to turn back, you’ve probably missed the morning glories that grow in the shade of the junipers and appear in early fall in this desert.

We need to go back to the basics. What drew you to running?

For me, I feel a sense of freedom. Time when I can forget all the “stuff and minutiae of life” that I need to do. A time of peace to be by myself; yet sometimes I prefer to run with a group even if they are beer drinking buds! So forget the gear, even the watch. Listen to your breathing and the sound of your foot strikes and worry about nada.

If you ever had / have a dog(s) that runs with you, this comment will ring true. When they see you pulling on your shoes, they are in seventh heaven. “Oh boy, oh boy, we’re going for a run. He’s putting on those special smelly shoes.” While I’m tying the laces, one one dog turns in circles and continually bumps me with his muzzle, like hurry up. They can’t wait run. They don’t care where they are going or what they are doing, they are just happy to be out running. And so should you!

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