Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Running Logs

Tragedy. The mileage logging app I've been using for two years (RunLogger) was discontinued today. Due to all the Facebook changes, the app was no longer compatible and needs to be updated, so it's down until/if the developer can make the adjustments. It's not looking good though, and even if it does come back, I don't think the data has a chance of being saved. It was a very simple app that tracked your miles on a calendar and also kept a tally of your total miles logged. There was also a leader board on the main page to see where you stood overall and for the month as compared to everyone else using the app.

I know it's not rational to be this upset about losing a run log, but I am. I know it's all completely arbitrary, but still there was something satisfying about entering my mileage everyday. I was just 50 miles short of reaching the 5,000 mile "milestone" (ha-ha, I'm corny) which came with an adorable pink medal to be added to my app profile. Sadness.

When nothing else motivated me to go for a run, oddly, that simple little app did. The thought of seeing a big, fat ZERO for the day was awful and I just had to go out and do something, anything higher than zero. Just that tiny goal was enough to get me moving and of course that's the hardest part. I can't remember a day I actually only logged one mile, even though I frequently told myself that would be better than nothing.

Another thing I loved about my simple app was the competition. It kept me in check. In my little world, ten miles can feel pretty awesome. Like, "Oh, look at me, logging a big double digit run" but the app showed me that I wasn't really as impressive as I thought, and that I could have always worked harder or done more. I may be pretty proud of my ten until I see a guy that did thirty. There's always someone working harder than you are, always, and it's good to be reminded of that so you strive for more. It reminds me of when I was in college and lived near the track. No matter what time of day, there were people out there putting in some miles while I wasn't. It's good to come face to face with that.

So, now I'm on the hunt for a new log. My problem is that I hate fancy and everything I've come across is fancy. I mean, is it super necessary to log your weight, heart rate, calories burned, pace, route, the temperature, the altitude, your mood (seriously, pretty much every app has a smiley face scale of your feelings), etc. for each and every run? No... just, no. I especially don't care how about reading through random strangers' feelings, give me a break.

This is just another example of the increasing complication of running nowadays. It's the most simple of sports... therein lies its beauty... why must we attach GPS and monitors and charts and over-analyze every single stride of every single second of every single run. Take a deep breath. Step away from the gadgets. Be free, I say. Give me a log where I can enter a number, just one number, indicating the amount of miles I've logged for a given day and leave it at that.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Series Is Ruining Racing

Okay, so today (11/11/11) the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series is offering a $20 discount on registration for (almost) all of their races. I'm not sure what the exceptions are, but I don't care and here's why: $60 for a half marathon is still a completely ridiculous price!

How in the world do people justify paying $80 for a HALF marathon in mostly forgettable places. For every Las Vegas, you have a St. Petersburg, Florida, not exactly a destination race. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. I would expect a complimentary new pair of running shoes for that price.

The branding of what used to be affordable, local races is causing prices to sky-rocket. Why people are willing to pay so much just for a name baffles me. Sure, I have the choice not to participate in any of these races and move on with my life but it still worries me that they're taking over and contributing to the trend of ever-increasing entry fees.

The other day I was looking through in an attempt to find a new (cheap) marathon to enter. This proved to be a very difficult task. Nearly every single race I checked out costs $80. Okay, yeah, this is double the value of those $80 half marathons, but it is still too much. I understand that the prices in big cities need to be higher. There are a lot more resources needed to close off busy roads, shuttle people around, etc. BUT, I do not see the need for the high price in smaller races. It's like every race director now feels that the experience is worth $80. Period. Sorry, but no. That marathon in Gettysburg (yes, seriously, I checked out a marathon in Gettysburg just because I thought, "This one MUST be cheap") should not cost the same as one in New York or Chicago.

I just hope that nice, low-key races can survive the pressure to become huge, expensive extravaganzas. Not everyone needs (or wants) expos and sprawling crowds and GU at every mile.

After searching for quite some time, I came upon a $25 winter marathon in North Jersey that I'm considering. I'm not expecting any spectators or a fancy medal or even a timing chip and that sounds perfectly fine to me. 26.2 is 26.2 no matter what the price.