Northwest Runner arrived just before the weekend, and for once, I had some time to settle in and read. One writer that I've been enjoying with each issue is Greg van Belle. This issue had his take on the trails versus roads debate. Quoting Greg, "I've done the math and trail running is 100 percent better than street running. You can't argue with math." The whole article is plenty fun. You can follow Greg on Twitter at @gregvanbelle. While you're at it, I'm there at @paulduffau.
Dana Richardson & Sarah Zentz have put together a documentary on the Tarahumara that won a prestigious Award of Merit from IndieFEST and the Golden Palm Award from the Mexico International Film Festival . The movie, Goshen: Places of Refuge for the Running People, explores the efforts of the Running People to maintain their way of life against the assaults of the modern world. For more info, you can head to GoshenFilms. The movie is available for sale - a reminder that if you want more running related stuff, you need to support the artists involved.
Finished reading a cultural guide to Kenya. The description of their driving habits convinces me that I should be hiring people rather than attempt transporting myself. Also, the advice never to get between the hippo and water seemed pretty obvious, but given the hippo is the deadliest critter (can something as big as a hippo be called a critter?), it probably needs repeating. Also, I've booked four days at the High Altitude Training Centre. I need to find out who was the slowest runner ever to stay there. I might be able to claim a somewhat dubious record.
One disagreement I had with Scott Fishman was on the subject of setting a goal that I wanted to enjoy every run. Scott maintained that enjoying a run was not quantifiable and thus could not be used as a goal. He also maintained it wasn't realistic to expect to enjoy every run. He was wrong, at least on the first point. The second is open to debate and would depend on the individual.
To quantify the enjoyment factor on a run, we simply need to borrow the tools used by the medical profession with the perceived level of pain or the Borg scale of perceived effort for exercise. I now use a scale 1-5 to rate my running enjoyment with 1 representing 'it sucked' and 5 representing 'awesome'. The goal is to always stay at a 3 or above, and I adjust workouts to make that happen. If running in 105 degree heat will result in a 2, I find a different time to run or a cooler location.
Yesterday I was up before dawn and on the trails up North Asotin Creek as the sun broke, surprising a flock of turkeys - one momma and a half-dozen poults. Later I saw a pair of 3-point bucks. In between, I traversed from the grassy valley, raindrops that clinged to the taller stalks glistening in the rising sun and up the pine-scented canyon. I started creaky and finished feeling comfortably tired, exactly what I aimed for. That was a solid 4 on the pleasure scale.
By planning the runs around the pleasure scale, I've been much more consistent with the running and it's showing in my fitness. I'm also having more fun than ever. You might give it a try yourself.