Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Let's talk again about running, shall we?


I just got back to running after quite a layoff. I twisted my ankle and that sidelined me for a bit. For once in my life, I took time off and didn't complain (not too much). I iced it and let it heal.

In the past week, I've gotten back to it which is good since I'm scheduled to run the ten-mile Mountain Goat on Sunday. This isn't the first time I've done the race without proper training. Among my friends I'm known for my lack of training plans. So it goes.

I also made a change in how I keep track of runs. I've been using dailymile.com. It's easy to use, free, and does a pretty good job, but some things have bugged me. There are technical issues such as the inability to get the reports that I want, but that's not what is really in the way.

Dailymile is set up for sharing. A person can gather a whole bunch of "friends" for motivation. I thought it was a good plan. The more motivators the merrier, right? But growing "friends" is a pain in the ass and I already have local running friends. What do I need with virtual training partners?

Then there was Twitter. I set dailymile to post each run on Twitter. Last week, seeing the post on Twitter I realized it was the equivalent of food porn, something that I don't like. I get annoyed with fish taco tweets, but there I was putting up run porn, the equivalent of, "hey, everyone, look at me!"

So I quit dailymile for now in favor of a spreadsheet on Google Docs. It's mine to tinker with. There is something to be said for creating the thing myself.

Looking over the year in running, I see something other than mileage: my moods. January and March began well but then I fell apart. February and April didn't ever get going. I can see in all those empty cells that I was lost through two-thirds of this year to struggles with mood and ambition.

I've run five out of the last ten days and three out of the last three. Part of that time, my ankle was messed up, so I'm amazed I even got runs in. Now that things are shaping up, getting three out of three is lovely, though I'm not intending any kind of streak.

There are some good people posting on dailymile. I don't want to forget that or put anyone down. Instead, I want to be social in the real world more than on the computer. I need running partners more than "friends." I am happier charting my progress on something I made myself than on some site that doesn't quite do what I want. And it feels good to stop inflicting running data on the world through Twitter.

It's easy for me to get lost in technology and forget that running is the art of getting up off the couch and out on the road. It's a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, running on and on down the road. The computer, I can save that for when I'm ready to write and write on.