The Learning Curve: Starting, Running, Recording, and Sharing

Today I learned…

Everyday of this year is going to be a learning experience. When you take on what is a big challenge for you, you can’t help but learn every step of the way.

The people who care

I tried to generate some interest in meeting up for my New Year’s Day run that got my official mile count underway. There was no surprise that only three people turned out to cheer me on. I have a lot of support out there, but it takes a lot to go out in the early cold on a holiday after late-night celebrations. More people will join me as the weather improves and my goal reaches more ears. But, this first run will stand out in my memory for a long time because it was the beginning. And it was real bloody cold waiting for folks to show up!

Moving through the cold

The weather here in Northwest Ohio has been seemingly unstable and has consists of wide temperature swings in short time spans. January is the early-middle of winter here and the first and second both showed winter’s teeth. In the lead up to my official start, I went out for  few runs to get into the rhythm of waking at the early hours, learn about entering the park right at open, and running in icy and dark conditions as the sun slowly rose over the trails and trees. One of the things I learned is that my phone crashes when it gets too cold.

Currently I carry my phone in my hand when I run so it doesn’t bounce around in my pocket distracting me. It seems that pushing my phone through the frigid air acts as an effective enough heat sink that the phone becomes convinced that there is no difference between 60% and 0% battery charge. To combat this, I tried my run on the second with the phone tucked into my waistband. That solved one problem, and possibly created another.

So many running apps

I relied on an app now called Nike Run Club to get me through last summer and almost all of my previous training, but for this year and this goal, I decided to find something with more integrations.

There are a LOT of running apps out there.

I received a Fitbit Charge 2 for the winter holidays and I’m  loving the passive data collection on my heart rate and steps, but it has no native GPS ability, so it’s app isn’t sufficiently accurate on distances. I’ve been a big fan of MyFitnessPal supported by the Under Armour brand, so I’ve been trying to use their related running app, MapMyRun. Here’s where I run into the current problem. My run on the 2nd had some impossible anomalies. I don’t know what the problem was, but I need to find more accuracy and consistency for this effort.

Strava

I have a cousin in Colorado who I didn’t know about until last year who is a avid runner. He recently recommended Strava to me, and this was not the first time I’ve run into it as an option. It has become more clear to me that this app is the gold-standard in recording amateur athletic activity. It also happens to have an integration into the WordPress plugin I found to share my run data on this site. So, I am now using that app. If you use it as well and want to keep up on my efforts, feel free to follow me on there.

Sharing tools and accountability

Using Strava will help me keep a record of my runs and a data source to share here since I’ve decided to open myself up to global accountability. However, I am wanting some functionality out of the site to keep everything cleaned up and easy to find. I’ve added the first post outlining the goal to the top menu so new readers can see what I am trying to accomplish. I would also like to be able to sort the run logs from the blog article posts. If anyone would know how to do that, a particular plug-in they could recommend, please do!

Other features to share

Another two features I want to develop is a shout-out page to those who support me in the goal and appreciate my sharing here. This way I can recognize some of the people I meet and who support or inspire me. Some people would benefit from hearing about what resources I’ve found. I can show how they can be implemented into their own lives and goals.

Finally, if I am fortunate enough to attract some attention, I would adore the support of some sponsors. Running is one of the cheaper habits you can develop. However, going to the extents that I am aiming at is not cheap. Race fees, gear replacements , and the death of running shoes are all obstacles, If a spot on a T-shirts and a shout-out to an interested, relevant, and ethical party allows me to defer some of those cost, it seems reasonable. I have no intention to ever put ads on this site.

Visualizing the goal

The final feature I want is a simple one, but I’m having trouble finding a good plug-in that could visualize my progress in a type of bar or tracker. Today, I am a bit over 19.5 miles. By the end of the week, I’ll be a touch over 1% into my goal. In spring, I will have many weeks under my heels and the weather will improve. Then, it’ll be fun and motivating to watch the progress bar march on.

Open door, open mind, open ears

If you have questions or suggestions, I encourage you to get in contact with me. I’m generally a friendly guy.  I look forward to meeting new friends at races and meet-ups. It would be smart to absorb all the useful wisdom you may be willing to share with me.

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