I’m back home in Maine now, with only random access to the internet. The regular posts are appearing, of course, via the magic of post scheduling. But, I have managed to convert some moose antlers, a handful of blueberries and a lobster shell into a satellite uplink, so I can get in this post.
Since I am on something of a vacation, I’ll ramble about running rather than about politics or other weighty matters.
One question that runners face when it comes to old and cherished running routes is “to measure or not to measure?” On the one hand, it is good to know the actual distance. For example, it makes it possible to figure out the pace and to compare times on the route with other routes. On the other hand, finding out that your favorite “10 mile run” is really your favorite 8 mile run can be something of a let down. Do you go back and change all those entries in your running log? Do you assume that global warming has somehow made the route shorter? Do you infer that Wall Street’s mathematical machinations someone how altered the very nature of numbers? Or do you just pretend you never measured it? All tough questions.
When I returned to Maine last year I was unable to run, thanks to that awesome quadriceps tendon tear. I did, however, walk much of my favorite route. But this year I could run and I had my GPS watch with me. I debated about what to do: measure the route and risk having to change years of running logs (at least in my mind) or face the truth? Being a philosopher, I decided to face the truth.
So, I fired up the watch and headed out on the route. Back in my younger days (that is, when I was fast) I estimated the distance was about 15 miles, then re-estimated it at about 16.
As I ran, I looked as the miles added up. I ran the University of Maine trails (killing only three deer flies-all that I encountered), through Orono and back through Old Town. I did pause in front of the house I grew up in-to take the throwing challenge. It has nothing to do with running, but when I was a kid the great test was to be able to throw a rock all the way across the frog pond. When I was a kid, it seemed like a vast distance. But, I can easily make the throw now. With my might proven, I went back to running.
Although I made it through the route far slower than when I first established it (about 26 years ago), I was happy when I looked at the distance field in my Garmin: 15.43 miles. Given that I had calculated the distance based on my pace for a measured 12 mile course, I was rather accurate. Also, some of the course was under trees, so the GPS measurement might be a bit off. So, I can leave my running logs unchanged and have to need to worry about how Wall Street might have changed the distance. I do, however, suspect they shorted me .57 miles.