Saturday, January 17, 2009

Poetry from Motion: Logging My Runs in Attackpoint

Running isn't quite as scintillating these days as it is during the wide open days of summer. All the trails we'd really like to hit are under at least a meter of snow, and after a number of weeks running on the same plowed routes again and again things are beginning to feel a bit stale, which leaves my mind looking for something, anything to focus on.

Lately a lot of my thoughts, especially during those runs in the wee hours, have focused on crafting the details for my training log entries for that day. This is patently silly, of course. It doesn't take too much thought to enter distance, pace, and route. But it's certainly a fun distraction as you make way over dark, icy roads to think about what's worth noting and what's not.

My first thoughts are purely about the details. Was that 6.5 miles or 6.25? Did it have 1900 ft of elevation gain or 1750 ft.

Next, especially these days, are the conditions. I note temperature if it's less than ten degrees, just because it shows a bit of grit to get out there in the single digits or lower. Road conditions come next, where I'm finding I have an Inuit's winter vocabulary -- ice, glaze ice, crusty ice, compact snow, loose snow, deep snow, 3 inches new, and rarely, bare and dry.

Then come the more subjective notes: how I felt, what I saw, how the general arc of training is going. Things like this.

Finally, is bringing it all together succinctly and with a voyeur's eye. What will I be interested in re-reading when I look back, and what might people who read my log be interested in reading -- has a social networking component so training partners and complete strangers can see exactly what you're doing (or at least what you report).

Looking at my logs, you'd be surprised that so much of my running time is spent crafting, editing, and amending the often perfunctory notes. But as we all know, we can sometimes have a day's worth of experiences in a single run, and picking what to log and what to leave on the road is an art in and of itself.

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