Hello, my name is Michael … and I am an addict. The past week has driven home this truth and I must face it honestly.
I have become psychologically and, I believe, physically dependent upon my Garmin 405CX. The highs it offers are impossible for me to resist:
the happy, surprised thrill when the pace dips below 7:00 minutes, the deep satisfaction when the miles click past twenty, and the delirious exhilaration of exploring my running world—I’m freed by Garmin to roam forested trails, mountain meadows, and endless prairie roads knowing that every turn is tracked, every mile recorded.
Before now, I would have been affronted by the slightest intimation that I was not a strong and self-reliant individual. I vehemently denied, to myself and others, that any addiction existed. Proof was offered up in the form of the rare occasion that I would step out the door without my trusty blue and gray running partner.
Now I realize that those short, naked runs were actually evidence of my addiction. Few were naked by choice, but the result of failing to have my device properly charged. When leaving Garmin behind was truly my decision, it was comparable to a cocaine junkie turning down one fix while still high after weeks of shooting up.
No doubt there are drawbacks to this addiction. Garmin sometimes quits on me, especially in cold weather. Sometimes it lies. It doesn’t hold a charge worth a damn. But I love it all the same.
My addiction problem began revealing itself five days ago on a Sunday morning that was black despite the hazy sunshine. My daughter dropped my son-in-law and me off at the Hutton Wildlife Refuge for a planned thirteen mile run back home. As I was about to get out of the car, disaster struck! My fully charged Garmin had crashed, frozen-up … apparently dead. It had decayed into something no better than a wrist watch. Neither buttons nor bezel changed the monotonous, unhelpful time and date which taunted me with intimations of the withdrawal pains that would soon strike.
I felt the first tremor in my lungs. The early pace was too fast, but without Garmin to confirm, I was hesitant to back off, so I huffed and puffed and blew on down the road. Next was a distracting unease that kept me mentally estimating our distance run every few minutes, anxious about whether I was leaving enough in the tank for the final third of the run. Approaching seven miles, a very real aching built in my legs as lactic acid accumulated. The run was pretty much a disaster, but it wouldn’t have been enough to convince me of my addiction without what came later.
Garmin had been left in the backseat of my daughter’s car; no point in wearing if it would just be teasing me the whole run. I forgot to retrieve it after the run on Sunday. My son-in-law took the car to work on Monday. Without Garmin, it was easy to decide Monday was a rest day. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday went by and I somehow failed to recover my Garmin from the car. Subconsciously, I think I was worried it might be permanently dead. Every day, my whole body hurt, far more than seemed called for by the run. And I just couldn’t get myself out the door for a run, knowing that Garmin wouldn’t be there with me. My daughter stepped in and dragged my out on Thursday, but the run was harder than it should have been considering the pace and distance … my heart wasn’t in it.
On Friday morning, I was certain that I had again missed the opportunity to reclaim the dead carcass of my Garmin. But my son-in-law hadn’t left,
so Garmin was tenderly removed from the backseat. Though it shouldn’t have been possible, my depressed state dropped lower at the sight of its blank, lifeless face.
Hosanna! Hallelujah! Hours later, my beloved Garmin had been brought back from the dead, its bezel and all its buttons apparently none the worse for having spent five days in purgatory. I’m anxiously awaiting today’s run.
Addiction? What addiction?