Tuesday, April 20, 2010
These are a few of my favourite (motivational) things...
My father was an electrical engineer and statistics were a big part of his world. He also loved kayaking and where I get an "endorphin rush" from running, he got it from swimming, which he somehow managed to fit in almost daily. Stats for him, however, were things that he developed through a love and an undertanding of mathematics and physics. My brain doesn't work that way. I have to have stats presented and laid out...final product, on a screen. Yup, it has to be pretty much, a "no brainer". That's why I cherish (more than anyone should cherish material goods!) my Garmin 305 Forerunner GPS-enabled watch. After a run, the stats are all there, no calculations necessary. I know how far I've run, the time, the pace, the elevation gain/loss, calories expended, average and highest heart rate...the list goes on. And then, upon arriving home, it downloads to the computer and graphs the exact ground track on "Google Earth". Oh yeah, and after having had it since last Christmas, I just discovered the Garmin watch tells the time - wow, bonus! Certainly the best and most motivational $169 I ever spent! Granted, it's rechargeable battery doesn't last all that long but it always outlasts me! :-)
So what is it about stats that motivates some folks. I think it is that when you have a clear vision or a goal, you have the ability to direct your destiny, at least to some extent. A vision gives you a destination and a path. For example, our statistical running "destination" for 2010 is 2010 kilometres. Therein lies the "vision" or goal. The "path" is simply getting out there and taking the first step of each day's run.
The fact is that for us, the act of running (add your own favouite sport/activity here) is not really a means to any particular end. It is an end in itself for it brings joy, exhileration, and, at the risk of sounding a little "New Age-ish", a sense of inner peace. As in the sidebar to this blog, it is for us, exactly what runner and writer Ben Cheever says. Running is not something one does, it is something that makes everything else one does OK. A good run (again, add your own favourite activity here) means that whatever else happens throughout the day, there's a good chance that all will be well. It kind of makes me think that 14th Century English mystic, Julian of Norwich, might just have been a runner, given her famous words, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."
So yeah, the stats are motivating. They are, almost literally, a tangible measure of the steps taken en route to realizing a goal or a vision. The added bonus is that they give you a sense of accomplishment! Now, having said all that, collecting stats does sometimes add a little pressure to life and to "accomplish". But that's not such a bad thing when the activity offers wholeness and health.
So, friends, may each "step" you take towards your goals be filled with meaning and enjoyment.
Top image: Garmin 305 Forerunner, Vibram FiveFingers (the absolutely most fun way, in the whole world, to run!), Salomon trail running shoes (always worked for me), and our back-up Current Designs paddle...hmm, I wonder if the Garmin 305 could be configured to record paddle strokes? OK, that just might be taking the love of stats too far. :-)