MY “OTHER” GIRLFRIEND
If you ask any lady who has ever dated me, after rattling off my many “endearing” quirks (at least I think they’re endearing) they’ll probably describe me as dependable, loyal and trustworthy (damn, I’m making myself sound like a dog). I’m not the kind of guy who would ever go behind their back and fool around.
Well shocking truth be told, I actually have been involved with another woman for the last 5 years and I’m proud of it.
She and I spend an intimate few hours together every Saturday without fail. I’ve taken her on trips around the country. She’s seen me at my best and at my worst. And whereas other women may come and go in my life, she’s always been by my side (or should I say on my wrist).
Her name is Becky.
And she is my Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver.
Now before you get completely weirded out that I’m living a runner’s version of the movie HER (good flick, by the way) and infatuated with a piece of technology, just know that I’m not quite that odd… not quite.
But on a recent run, one of my friends commented that I lovingly glanced at my Garmin so many times you’d think I was dating it. And it got me to thinking. Maybe, he’s right.
So let me tell you about my little love affair.
I first met Becky at the Best Buy in Burbank back in March of 2009. I was about to run my first full marathon and wanted to upgrade to a GPS watch. I looked at the various GPS models they had, including Becky’s younger sister the Forerunner 205 (which came in blue, my favorite color). But Becky seemed a little more sophisticated and caring (she came with a heart monitor chest band after all). And that burnt amber color suggested she had a little fire inside her. I was hooked.
Now as for giving a GPS watch a girl’s name, why is that so strange? I mean guys give their cars and boats names (among other things). I took one look at her and the name “Becky” popped into my head. I mean c’mon, she totally looks like a Becky (please, argue with me on that point… I dare you).
Becky and I got physical right away. In fact, I could hardly wait to get her home and out of her “packaging.” But we were both young and a little wild. Ahh, memories.
And like many new relationships, we had a few bumps early on as we got to know each other. She expected me to be able to read her mind (aka programming instructions) and she was a little challenging to figure out initially.
And that first time trying to link to a satellite made me wonder if I should just give my old Nike watch a call. I mean here I was in the middle of a park, sticking my arm up in the air like an idiot, trying desperately to make a real connection. Damn, dating (I mean running) shouldn’t be this hard.
These were the rough times, but we stayed the course and I’m glad we didn’t give up on each other. I mean once I figured out her idiosyncrasies and she got used to my behavior, we just clicked. It was like a match made in digital heaven.
Let me tell you what’s so great about her…
Becky is smart. I mean she knows how far I’ve run down to the 100th of a mile and can calculate my pace exactly. It’s like she knows me better than I know myself. She tells me how many calories I’ve burned (she’s even concerned about my health) and can keep track of all of my runs thanks to her computer link (did I mention she’s good with gadgets too).
Beck is also really considerate. She likes to let me know ahead of time when things are good. She starts beeping five seconds before a walk break to make sure I don’t miss it. Isn’t that nice of her? And she also beeps five seconds before my walk break is up. See, she even knows how to break bad news gently.
And she’s not needy. No fancy spa treatments needed. Just charge her up every few days and she’s ready to dance. She also doesn’t need to go to a different place ever week. We constantly run in Griffith Park (it’s kind of “our” place) and never once has she complained. That said, I do like to take her on trips… Chicago (Marathon), Atlanta (Half Marathon), Las Vegas (R ‘n’ R), San Diego (R ‘n’ R). I’ve promised her that someday we’ll go to Boston, and she says she’ll patiently wait until I’m ready. See, I told you she was a real catch.
Now Becky isn’t perfect, no girl is… I think she plays games with me when she gets mad. It only happens during really long runs. I get the feeling that my walk breaks might be a bit shorter or she subtracts a few tenths of a mile from my total. I don’t have any proof and my running buddies say it’s all in my head, but it’s best to keep her happy.
And she has her quirks. But sometimes it’s those little imperfections that we miss most when they’re gone. Becky gets a little claustrophobic, specifically with long tunnels. During the Chicago Marathon and Los Angeles R ‘n’ R we had to run through long tunnels and Becky freaked out a little. But each time, once we got outside things were fine again. And if I forget to clear her memory regularly, she gets a little overwhelmed and needs to be reset. Don’t we all.
I guess her biggest drawback is that she doesn’t have a vibrate mode. If I have my music turned up too loud, I might miss her signal for a walk break. Maybe it’s her way of saying we always need to listen to each other and communicate.
All said and done, Becky and I have had a fantastic five years together. We’ve run 5 full marathons and in February we celebrate our 25th half-marathon (yup, it’s our silver anniversary).
I must admit, however, that I recently had a bit of a crisis of conscience. Becky’s battery isn’t holding a charge the way it did when we first met. And Becky has some new friends, like the Forerunner 220 and Forerunner 620. They’re sleeker and slimmer models with bold colors and wireless synching… and they all vibrate. A lesser man would jump for the flash.
But not I. I won’t cast Becky aside.
A day will come when her battery won’t recharge or her memory goes completely and then we’ll sadly have to part ways.
But until that day comes, we’ll be happily pounding the pavement together as she tells me when to run and when to walk. And I’ll smile and think, “Yes, dear.”
Becky has always been and will always be my girl.
What can I say; I’m a romantic at heart.
(Do you have a special attachment to any of your running gear or outfits?)