I've gone running twice with the Nike+ SportBand. Both times were on a route I normally run during long-run recoveries. I figured the route is 5 miles. That felt right to me. But Nike+ told me the run was 4.72 and 4.69, putting my pace at 7:37 and 7:45. Uh-uh. I just didn't buy it. Yes, I'm still just 10 days or so from the marathon, but those runs felt faster, closer to 7:20 pace.
Tonight, I put my internal feel for distance and, more important, pace against Nike+ technology. Nike could argue it's not completely fair because I don't run in Nike+ shoes. Instead, I put the sensor in a pouch that attaches to the top of my Asics. Yesterday, on Twitter, I estimated that Nike+ was off .25 mile. My body told me it was a five-mile run to the Bridle Path, not these 4.72 and 4.69 miles that Nike said. To test the accuracy, I ran to the park, then started Nike+. I did the four-mile loop (technically, a USATF-measured 4.04). Nike+ told me 3.71 miles. I was pretty much exactly right about the distance. My internal odometer kicked Nike+'s ass.
It got me thinking about technology, something I write about quite a bit. For the most part, technology is great, even awe-inspiring the things it enables. Yet at the same time, I feel it's alienating people. We overlook the very simple things about life. It's why I was hesitant to add Nike+ to my regimen. Running is so basic, so elementary, so free of what Noakes calls "society's false privileges." My best miles in the marathon tick off one after the other, completely alike although unique. The times in the miles never vary too much. When there's a misplaced mile marker, our pack knew it because we had a sense of pace, developed with the most amazing piece of technology: our bodies. Bill Bradley, the former senator, was the subject of a great book called A Sense of Where You Are. The title came from the way Bradley, a basketball star at Princeton, described to the author how he always knew where he was on the floor without looking at the basket. He'd spent so much time practicing and playing that he developed an innate sense. We all have that, I believe, but we often don't trust it.
5.2 miles, 35:30