The Cyborg Runner

by Brian Harvey

Besides my family, I have two passions in life: video gaming and running.

My job is a Technology Evangelist for NVIDIA. I get to travel around the world pushing the level of realism in games to the next level. On the other side, I enjoy Ultra Marathon running and training for those events. I am motivated by technology and the information that is given to me.

I just recently finished up my second 100 mile race. 149 people started the San Diego 100 Endurance Run. 90 finished and I came in 40th place with a time of 26 hours and 12 minutes.

At the finish line with my family and training team

I am proud to use technology as a part of my training. Technology plays an integral part in the success of my Ultra Marathon completions (currently 20+ events ranging from 50K to 100 miles). While my times aren’t putting any pressure on the front runners, I have come a long way from being 240lbs about 10 years ago.

After the race, my legs are covered in road dirt

During the training for my events, I rely pretty heavily on technology. I enjoy the data that is presented to me and it’s always motivating to load up a GPS track from a previous event and view it in Google Earth. It gives me an appreciation for the areas I have been and the things that I have seen. It’s fun to see the tracks I laid down in Korea, London, Germany, and Brazil.

Here’s a list of things I use and why:

  • Tanita BC-1000: Wireless scale that tracks bf% and body hydration level. The tracking and graphing of the results notifies me if something is wrong in my training or if I’m not properly hydrated.
  • (and blackberry client): Assists with ensuring that I’m eating enough and recovery nutrition from workouts/races is adequate.
  • Community Sites: Sites like and allow me to reach out to my running community and to also ask for help/support when I feel that I need assistance with my training/nutrition
  • Garmin Forerunner 310XT w/HR monitor: Assists with knowing how hard I’m training. I generally stick to perceived effort, but will look at the HR as backup. Also, on training runs in foreign cities, I do “lost runs” where I turn on the GPS tracking on the watch, go out for 45 minutes and hit “return to start” which will direct me back to the hotel. I get to see incredible parts of cities and it makes me feel more connected to the city I’m in.
  • Pacemaster Platinum Pro Treadmill: Allows me to get a great workout in during the week while the kids are asleep and allows me to run with a negative degree to help with those constant quad pounding downhills.
  • Spot: The spot is a GPS/Satellite Paging unit that will allow me to call for emergency help in case I am ever in need of help. There are times when I’m out training in the Central Sierra’s about 30 miles from the closest town. Having this unit allows me to keep in contact with my family and ensure that I’m still alive.

Some of the old school runners might scoff at how much tech I use, but then again, I doubt they use an abacus to do math today. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. I’m a child of the technical age. I remember plugging away code on the Commadore 64 in order to play games. I remember the late nights building my Sorc up to level 94 in hardcore mode in Diablo 2 and being forced first into Duriel with all my minions.

end of the race. My daughter helped pace me to the finish line.

Technology plays a huge role in who I am. Technology motivates me, excites me, and pushes me to advance further in my career and life.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a geek. It’s who I am.