August 14th 2017
Today I set a course record. There is a social network for running called Strava, and on Strava there are segments. Segments are, effectively, how fast you can run a route between two GPS locations. You can set up segments basically anywhere, and there’s many dotted around Gloucester. There’s a leaderboard for each segment that shows the fastest time each person that has attempted it took to run it.
At work, there’s quite a competition over segments and course records. People try to steal them off each other, and then go and steal them back if they lose one. I’ve been running round Gloucester for over a year but never had a course record.
Today, I set out on my run to do a fast 5k, because I fucked up the 5k race last week, but I decided instead to go segment hunting. I thought it was about time that I got a course record. I’m still somewhat injured, but I’m sick of not running, so I had to run.
There is one main segment that I want. It’s the 120m(ish) sprint finish of one of our 5k races. My current best time is 17 seconds, and the current best time is 16 seconds. I’m so close.
In three attempts at the segment today, I could equal – but not beat – my previous 17 second best time. It’s annoying, because I know that I can do it better. That’s always the thing about running that annoys me the most. I know I can do better, I just don’t.
Because I was having no luck with the one that I wanted, I decided to make my own segment. You basically just choose what you want to run, run it as fast as you can, go back and create the segment on Strava, and then hope that you won. I chose a 300m(ish) sprint finish at the end of the other race route we do. I blasted it in 53 seconds.
Right after you’ve created it, you get first place. You get the course record. Because you’re the only data they have. They then crawl back through their database and propagate the segment with historical data. So naturally, I kept refreshing the page every 5 seconds to check that I still had the course record.
I had the course record when it had loaded 310 people’s data. I had it at 510. I had it at 650. I had it at 735. And then I lost it at 736. But, the person who beat me had a time of 26 seconds – which is physically impossible unless you’re in a car, so I flagged her activity to Strava and it gave me number one spot again. Finally, all the data finished propagating and I was still number one, of eight hundred and six people.
I’m fully aware that because I’ve made this new segment, that people from work are going to go out tomorrow and try to take the course record from me. But I’ll still have the screenshot, and I still have this blog as proof. I needed to get the ‘no-CR’ monkey off my back, and I’ve done that.
Now, even if I lose it, at least I had it. That’s a good way of living, right?
Except that the second I lose it, I’m going to go back out to reclaim it.
Until tomorrow, and repeat ad infinitum.