Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Timex After Timex

It finally happened: my Timex watch is no more. I bought this one back in 2010 when I re-started my training again after taking a year off my feet to allow various injuries to heal. When I bought it, it was purple, with a slender (if plastic) strap: feminine yet sporty. Something to wear to the track or with formal wear. Just my kind of watch.

For me, watches-- like certain songs-- are talismans of various stages of training and/or life. My first timex watch was two shades of blue and had a square face. It's redeeming feature-- a thing I didn't know about until I'd worn it for nearly a year-- was that the face would do that indigo thing with a flick of the wrist, not a push of the button. How I'd managed to miss that, I'll never know. I still remember the day I bought that watch. I'd already signed up for my first marathon. I'd read a few training books. All of them said I'd need a watch. A digital watch.

This was news to me: I never wore a watch then.

So, clad in my running gear (I was going to test the watch out after I bought it, after all), I drove to the only running specialty store in town and gazed into the glass case wondering which one I wanted as my latest accessory.

I remember thinking most were extraordinarily ugly. Male to the extreme. Or, just too girly (hence, the blue color I finally settled on.) It also happened to match my outfit that day.

I didn't take that watch off for at least a year and a half. It was the watch I wore when I ran my first marathon, the watch I wore when I trained with the UNR Tri Club, the watch I wore to run the Boston Marathon. From 2007 to sometime in 2009. That was my only watch.

The strap broke or eroded away. And then I was injured. While I was injured, I stopped wearing a watch. What was there to time, after all? The time I wasn't running? The time it took to... clean the cat box? Knowing minutes and seconds was pointless, or so my depression told me. It wasn't until I started running again that I made my way back to the running speciality store-- the same one-- to buy another watch.

There was less in their case this second time around: a bunch of clunky black ones and a single, slender purple one. Of course, I chose the latter even though NONE of my running apparel is any of that royal shade.

That watch had memories, too. I went through a lot of pain with that watch on a treadmill in Tahoe City while the snow piled outside. That watch saw me compete in my first triathlon ever. That watch got me to run a 2:47 at the California International Marathon. That watch went with me to every track session leading up to the marathon. The watch was my alarm clock, waking me every morning with a cheery-chime that got annoying. But it also got me out of bed.

The plastic band that was once a light violet is now turned yellow from chlorine and God knows what else. The strap's pulled away from the watch face, and threatens to free itself any minute. But the coup de grace came after the last pool workout. I left the watch in the bag with my wet swim suit. And when I pulled it out, there's still water beneath the glass, hovering over the digital display. So much so that I can't see the time any longer.

And so I think it's time for a new watch. And perhaps a new "cycle" of my training life. Who knows what "bells and whistles" await on the horizon? What athletic feats I'll accomplish with a flick of the wrist? Or, low times I'll have to go through? All I know is: it's time for a new Timex.

While I'm training, I'm lost without it. 

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