If It Didn’t Happen on Strava, Did It Happen?

Is Strava is the now the modern day version of;
If a tree falls in a forest?

When I was young, I never liked hearing people begin stories with “back in my day…” so I don’t want to be that person now. How about this; when I first began running we needed someone at the track to flip the hour glass as we passed the finish line. OK, it was never like that, but my reality will probably seem that archaic to some of the children.

We really did feel fortunate to be able to get a wristwatch with a built-in stopwatch.  That worked great for track workouts or races where you knew the distance you were covering. For training runs; I spent most of my time at a park with a four mile trail loop which had a mile-marker at each mile. If I hit the roads to run, then I would have to cover the distance twice; once on foot, and once in my car to be able to clock the miles and know how far I’d run.  Then I’d have to pull out a calculator to figure out my overall pace, with no real clue of what my splits were, or heart-rate, or elevation gain.

Of course, I came up with some standard routes that I could piece together to run some varying distances, but it all took work, and thought, and planning, that you just don’t have to deal with today, because of the technologies we are fortunate enough to be able to wear on our wrists. But, I have to wonder if I haven’t become a little too invested in technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love Strava, and love my watch, and not ready to trade either in just yet. I also think there is far more gained, in terms of training and motivation by using the technology. So why am I writing this?

Today, I went out into a cold, windy, 28 degree morning to run, with a goal of putting in at least 10 miles. Around mile seven, the Activity app set off an alert on my watch, which immediately got my attention because that app never goes off while Strava is running, but generally goes off within a minute or two of me exiting a workout on Strava.  When I dismissed the Activity app, my watch went back to Strava and showed a distance of 0.0 as it had somehow started over. I found myself upset by this, with worry setting in that I had lost nearly seven miles. I kept running and told myself that it was ridicules, and that if I ran another three miles, that I would have my 10 in, and that is all which really mattered. It wasn’t like I was going for time at all; this was just a long, slow, training run.

None-the-less, I still found the thought of losing miles, disheartening.  I could tell my pace had slowed, so I made myself pick it up a bit, and decided to focus on something else.  I picked pizza to focus on! Yes! When I finished, even though it was 10:00 am, I was going to treat myself to a slice of pepperoni pizza! I found my attitude was turning around and I would knock out the rest of this run and pizza would make everything better… then I looked at my watch… UGH!! When it began again, it began in bicycle mode. WTF!! I’ve just biked the slowest freaking mile ever!! As I fumbled to get my watch off that mode and back to run, it kept asking me to “sync” and I clicked “clear” a couple of times… but then it was over. The pizza no longer mattered… it was now eight lost miles…

I walked back home as I was only about a half mile away. The slowest freaking one-mile bike ride ever, immediately downloaded from the watch to the Strava app and I deleted it. It’s been three hours since the Strava app first said “upload in progress…” and it continues to say that. I’m not hopeful that I’ll ever see the other seven miles. I KNOW (in my head) that this shouldn’t be a big deal, but this isn’t the first time that I’ve lost workouts and when you like using digital goals and challenges as motivational tools, and you fall short by a few miles, it can give you the feeling that you failed even though you really didn’t.

It is very much like the tree fell in the forest and without anyone to hear it, not only did it (maybe) not make a sound, but it fell for nothing if there were no followers on social media to validate the experience, right?