I log everything I do outside.  It started out as a simple suggestion from a friend as an interesting way of looking back and reflecting on a season or a year.  The journaling started out simple enough as a quick notation of what activity I did that day in my Women of Rock Climbing Calendar, and has progressed into a full-on cataloging of my day’s actives.  Depending on activity, I track everything from elevation gained to heart rate to routes climbed or runs skied and log them into a day planner that offers enough space for my stats.

The truth is that I do very little with these numbers.  Occasionally I will add them up and marvel over the amount of vertical feet I hiked or the number of miles I biked the previous year.  Sometimes I use them to create personal challenges, trying to best personal highs as a way of keeping me motivated or focused on a goal.  I will often just add up my days skiing or days spent climbing at Rumney just to antagonize my nine to five friends with the volume I am able to get out compared to them.

The journaling has provided nice reference points for me as to my progress as an outdoor athlete.  Looking back at the journal, I used to do two or three runs at ‘The Stash’ and think that was a full day. This season I would regularly do three or four runs before heading off to a full shift at work.  When I first started road biking I considered a fifteen mile ride a fantastic workout.  I no longer think I would bother even getting on my bike for less than a twenty mile ride.  Boulder problems that I battled for years have now become part of my circuits or, in some cases, warm ups.

It is interesting to be able to look back and see when I sent a route and who I was with.  More often than not, a simple notation like “Tecumseh with Doug, 1 Run, 3:23, 2,350 feet” reminds me of the day that we were incredibly slow because I stayed up way too late the night before, and drank way too much and needed twenty minutes to “collect” myself at the halfway point.  Recently I searched for when my latest last day skiing was and marveled that four years ago my last day skiing was April 25th at Sugarbush.  (By the way if we make it to April 25th this year I will log some impressive ski numbers for the season. ) 

Sometimes I wonder if this cataloging is simply the symptom of a neurotic, or if this information is truly useful (if I did not have it, would I miss it?).  I often wonder if this cataloging is a residual effect of looking at the backs of too many baseball cards as a child or playing too much Micro League.  It’s just that now, instead of pouring over Wade Boggs statistics, I only keep my own statistics.