Tuesday, April 20, 2010

These are a few of my favourite (motivational) things...

Ah, the pressure's on, but we're still in the "window". I did the math this morning and realized that we're on schedule for the required "mileage" to reach the year end running goal of 2010 kms. The thing is, at the end of March, the figures indicated that there were plenty of kms in the "bank" which meant that in the event of injury or whatever, there was a small "slush fund" of kilometres to fall back on. Well, the first three weeks of April seem to have simply flown by and it has been a disappointing month for running (and paddling). A small injury to my right foot - the result of, well um, not acting my age - on Sulphur Mountain, and an annoying cold that depleted energy for a week or so has resulted in enough missed days to use up all the "banked" distance. So where are we at? The figures reveal that as of today's date, we're 30.1 percent through the year..and that at 605.37 kms, we've run exactly 30.1 percent of the goal of 2010 kms. Hmm, interesting stats. As interesting to me, however, is my apparent need for stats.

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. :-)


  1. Im a little ashamed with my stats..seems everytime I get some great base training in work steps in and manages to send me to no running land for weeks.

    Keep up the good work!

    And thanks for reminding me how old my forerunner 101 is! maybe time for a upgrade.

  2. Hey
    Very attached to those items in the pic ...aren't you.LOL When I was at your favourite store the other day there were many of your VVF's and people trying them on so you are not alone in your love of "barefoot" running. Glad you are on track with your running...I am sure by the end of summer you will be way ahead of the game!
    Now if you could just get a gadget that would do all your work for you, you would have plenty of time to run and paddle.

  3. Hey Lee,

    Thanks for dropping by and for your comment. Yup, been there, and enjoyed some of the "back country", but then they have the nerve to make you carry a rucksack! D.

    Hi Anon,

    Hmm, yeah. I figure the answer might involve either cloning (too late) or a holograph (too weird). But d'ya think folks would notice? :-)

  4. I tried on the five fingers for the first time a couple of days ago. I LOVED the fit, and could see them for running as well as a summer paddling shoe. Here is my problem. I feel like every where I went people would be staring at my feet? is that accurate?

    Just found your blog, in 2006 I paddled Port Hardy to Bella Bella, and I still dream of the BC coast daily.



  5. Hi PO,

    Welcome and glad you found us! Yup, folks give the VFFs a second look. Just makes you smile even more when you're running.:-) Really enjoying paddlingOTAKU and will add to my blog roll. Very well written! Port Hardy to Bella Bella is an impressive paddle, indeed! Drop by anytime. D.

  6. What a great goal, Duncan! I feel tired just thinking about it though. Who out of you and Andy (note my new familiarity)egged on the other in the techno-gadget game anyway? You both sure revel in the leading edge equipment! Maybe it all started with guitars??