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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Watch Yourself

Keeping a record of something can change everything.

There is a theory, the name of which I have long forgotten, that says, “The act of observing a phenomenon changes that phenomenon.” Essentially, the idea is that you could never accurately describe the world of hidden tribes in South America, because your presence in their midst will unavoidably alter their lifestyle.

It’s one of the reasons that reality television is, in a word, crap. When the Real Teen Mom Survivors of Jersey Shore see the cameras moving into their town, they will alter their behavior, either to gain or detract the attention of the people who can make them “famous” (a word I’m using very loosely). In most cases, much to the delight of the Bravo network, they manage to pick the craziest attention-starved psychos in the bunch, which makes for entertaining, if not compelling, television. Everyone loves to watch someone crazier than himself.

Yet this wonderful theory, which I would research online if I wasn’t currently on a plane and writing this post if Word, can also work for the betterment of society, and not just as a method for the systematic destruction of scripted television. In my case, it actually gets me moving.

Spending the next week in a slightly cooler climate (though, of course, it will be unseasonably warm for them), I am very excited about getting some miles in under a reasonable sky, and considered pushing my Wednesday run to Thursday and Thursday’s to Friday. Given the absurd number of miles I’m going to run during this section of my training (107 miles in 14 days), I figured that taking the rest a little easier might better prepare me for the coming weekend.

And then I looked at my spreadsheet. August was scheduled to be my highest-mileage month thus far, but I needed today’s 9 miles to do it. September will need no help at all, so I really didn’t have a choice. Still in the Texas heat, I went out and ran my nine this morning.

However, we are in a different city than normal, which meant that there were virtually no hills on the course I planned out. I felt strong, but I had no familiar mile-markers off which to mark my progress, and no finishing challenge for which to save energy. I just had to go out and run a strong nine, and whenever I finished, that would be good enough. And so it was.

Now, with those miles behind me, I can’t believe that I was going to take away a rest day before a 28-mile weekend. In fact, I will more likely now do my Saturday run on Friday and let Sunday’s 19-mile exhaustion-fest stand on its own. This is really the only logical way to approach the miles ahead of me, but in order to see that, I wasn’t proactive or foresighted. I just wanted a silly little record.

Never underestimate the power of a color-coded excel spreadsheet.

Wednesday’s Run:
91 Degrees / Sunny
9.64 Miles
1 Hour, 10 Minutes, 50 Seconds

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