Motivated by General Geekery

New Slogan: Motivated by General Geekery

Written By: der5er - Sep• 23•08


I've just always wanted to use this picture.

I have always wanted to use this picture on the blog

As I was running this morning, I was thinking.  This is something I do all the time, and it helps clear my head for the day ahead.  Today I was actually thinking about running, only half-listening to the podcast I had on my iPod.  What motivates me to run?  There have been other times in my life when I’ve tried to be a runner, but I was never successful at getting motivated to do it regularly, what’s so different this time around?  And, in general, what motivates me to do something?


In high school, in Texas, I was on the swim team.  I really loved swimming and, while I wasn’t the best, I certainly enjoyed it.  I didn’t always enjoy the workout, there is such a thing as too much solitude, but I always enjoyed the swim meets.  I knew that one way to get faster at swimming was to cross train with strength training that the coach had us doing 2 times a week and with other sports or exercises.  I chose running and pretty much failed.  I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but I could never motivate myself to run more often than once a month, and never much further than 2 miles.  

Later, when I was an active duty Marine, I had to run.  In boot camp, I ran regularly, but that’s because someone was forcing me to do so.  After that, I would say I probably averaged 1-2 runs per month for the remainder of my 6 year enlistment.  Never, ever, more than 3 miles when I was running on my own.  And, even though I had a specific goal – don’t fail the Phyisical Fitness Test – I still really couldn’t get into it and make it a habit.  I did roller-blade to work when we only lived about 6 miles from the base.  That was fun, and I lost weight while doing it.  But it mainly served to wear out the brakes on my skates, as many of the roads had steep down-hill stretches.  

Now fast-forward 10 years to today.  I’m now running 5-6 times a week, averaging around 15 miles per week (though that’s going up as I train for the half-marathon in November).  I’m not feeling pushed to run.  Nothing forces me to get up at 5 AM, Monday-Friday or at 6 on a Saturday or Sunday.   I’ve only actually run in three races, one just to see if I could finish, the other two for new Personal Records.   But I don’t think the races are what get me up in the mornings.  I’m not thinking about the races that much when I’m running every day.  I do think about my weight, and I am losing weight at a slow, steady pace.  Hopefully, by this time next year my small muffin-top gut will be all but gone.  But I don’t think that’s my motivation, either.  Until today, when the words in the title just sort of came to me, I don’t think I realised quite what it was that kept me moving.

You see, I’ve got this little add-on for my iPod, and a sensor on my shoe.  It tracks every step I take, how fast I take them, how many I take, and turns them into meaningful numbers.  It turns my steps into the distance I’ve run in either miles or kilometers.  It turns their frequency into my pace at any given moment.  At the end of a run, it turns my steps and my total time into the complete distance, average pace, and calories burned.  And, it puts all these steps together with all my runs, allowing me to track them over time.  To see my average pace since I started running with it (9:28/mile and trending faster), my total distance (179 miles), and how many workouts I’ve completed (52).  This little Nike+ iPod Sport kit lives on data, and I have to feed it.  It’s the geek in me.  In that original article I wrote that I wanted something to make it easier to track my progress.  I can successfully say this is it.  I think a big part of what gets me up every day to run at 5:00 AM is that I want to feed my Nike+.  

Anything I can track with quantifiable data motivates me a little bit.  When I first heard about the 100 Pushups website, I thought it was a really neat idea.  But I didn’t initially do anything about it.  Then, I found that an internet friend was doing it and tracking his progress in a forum.  Well, that’s pretty geeky, and it gave me a way to track my progress (of course, now there’s the Pushups Logger, and I’m SO jealous of the people just starting out who get to track progress there).

When I first started liking 1982-1988 BMW 5-Series cars it didn’t have much to do with the cars themselves.  What motivated me to keep the car and keep it running initially was the general geekery of the community that surrounds the e28.  These guys seriously geeked out about their cars, and so did I.  I really had a good time while it lasted, but since I lost my car, I haven’t found another that suits me.  Plus, I’ve lost touch with that forum a bit.  I don’t know if I’ll be back, but I am always on the lookout for that perfect, Cinnabar (Red) 1988 BMW 535is in a low price range (I know, “perfect” and “low price range” don’t belong in the same sentence when talking about a 20-year-old car).

The TV shows LOST and Fringe are two more examples of being motivated by general geekery.  I follow several blogs and podcasts about both shows.  Fans of the shows are exceedingly geeked out on the plot lines, story arcs, and hidden clues in each episode.  This fuels my geeky fire.

Tools are another geeky love of mine.  Read any of my For the Love of Tools posts and you’ll get more info on that.  

In short (too late), I’m “Motivated by General Geekery.”  And so, that’s the new slogan for der5er.  It replaces “Automotive Stuff, Tool Stuff, Family Stuff…” at the top of the blog page, which I think was just too much stuff.  There will still be all automotive stuff, tool stuff, and family stuff here at der5er, but I think I just might write more geeky stuff in the future.  And, of course, all those things can be geeky, too.

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