Always 70 and Sunny
Always 70 and Sunny

Stirring the pot


Exhibit A:

A number of PAX show up for workout at the appropriate time, but some of said PAX decide to do an alternate workout (e.g. play ultimate rather than run, or do a regular run rather than a speed workout). Said PAX rejoin the group at the end of the workout for the COT.

Consequence: Said rebellious PAX (YHC included) do not get included in the PAX list or get Big Data credit (or perhaps receive an asterisk that could be removed with burpees).

Exhibit B:

A number of PAX “show up” at the workout location, but not at the appropriate time. Said PAX do their own thing and make no effort to return for the COT. In fact the only evidence that they worked out is the presence of their vehicles at the AO.

Logical Consequence: Said rebellious PAX do not get included in the PAX list or get Big Data credit.

The real, carefully planned, well-thought out, and clearly described running workout: Runners do 3 loops bordered on three sides by Westmoreland, Commonwealth and Grove. The northernmost cross street was chosen so that the three laps together equaled either 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, or 6 miles. The goal was to run the first lap in 16 min, the second in 15 min, and the third in 14 min.

Moleskin. It was hot. It was lonely. YHC ran by himself. Most other PAX did too, due to the small numbers today. Northerners don’t know how to pronounce “Wythe.” It was good to see some huffing and puffing on the third lap. Welcome back to Upchuck, too.

Commentary. Before Big Data, YHC would just show up to workouts, not caring if attendance was taken or not. He was there for the fitness and the fellowship. But for competitive people like myself, Big Data has turned things into a bit of an attendance competition, and I think it actually takes away from the primary aims of the group. I’ve tried to just ignore it this year, but, uh, apparently I still do care. Big Data also creates some perverse incentives. For example: Really need a rest day to rest your injured calf–Sorry, Big Data is watching. Muscles sore from doing too many Merkins the day before? Sorry, you need to show up for the next workout (A Swirly Q!), to get the credit. Personally, I think it is time to take down big data–it would help us relax and enjoy the more important 3Fs. We’re already competitive enough–why add an extra layer?


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  1. Nice run and change up this morning, Sippy! It was definitely hot and humid! This backblast will most definitely stir the pot! Have a great weekend all!

  2. Well played. My approach to B/D is to simply ignore it…

    Sounds like it was a great workout Sip….look forward to getting back to regular start times after BRR.

  3. Swirly (F3 Corporate) on

    This is a great group of guys- everyone is certainly welcome to their opinions which should be respected. Allow me to express my opinion to the above BB. I do not push myself as hard as I do for big data points in fact it has nothing to do with Big Data.. I would be there a half hour early before launch to every work out and give that workout my best whether I got credit for being there or not and I have done that for close to 5 years now (beats working out alone or in a gym baby)!!. I do think it’s fun to have data to look back at – it’s interesting and if used as intended it could help us reach out to some guys we may notice have not been in awhile. I hear what Sippy is saying and it’s certainly a good point – it should not be the focus – nor was it intended to be.. But please know this Guys – whatever Swirly’s big data points now or in the future are – I don’t come for that – I come to be with y’all I come to work to get better everyday and hopefully encourage others to work towards doing the same by leading by example.. I hope that these are a few reasons why each of you comes to F3 as well.
    Great job on the run fella’s it was Humid out there for sure. Excellent job to the early launch guys too – TYA, Bleeder, Lugnut, Vinny – enjoyed it guys – way to push.
    Thanks to each of you for the well wishes as we take my youngest to college tomorrow – it’s certainly appreciated – Swirly does not cry alot but odds are a tear or two will be shed tomorrow. It’s all good though – a new chapter begins for my family which is exciting! I’m very grateful for a number of things in my life – F3 being 1 of my top five most important things and the reason for that is you guys! See y’all in the gloom.

  4. THE Yankee Aggressor on

    Sippy thanks for the thoughts. Measuring things ala big data always creates interesting unintended behaviors! I used to be a devout follower of the individual aspects bid data, but rarely look at it these days. I take a me versus me approach to it. My goals are around my fitness and races/activities that I am participating in. If it impacts big data, so be it. My primary use of big data now is to look at macro trends for F3 RVA. For example, I periodically look at the AO participating trends and also look at our overall participation level (number of posts for the group in a week, month and what the trend is). I would be in favor of eliminating the individual posting parts if it is creating negative impacts to folks, but would love to keep tracking the macro trends.

  5. I’ll be the first admit that I look at big data too much. This may change that, Sippy. Thanks!

  6. If anyone is interested I plan to run some loops at Hillcrest around 5:30 today. There will be no Big Data points, just getting better for BRR.

  7. I said the same thing yesterday, at lunch, only with more curse words. So from me, well said.

    I haven’t looked at big Data since “breakfast club” was added.

  8. TYA, I’d support that, and I agree that overall trends are important and helpful and should be kept. And I wish I could ignore the individual aspects. I’m trying, but it is hard to beat back my competitive nature. Maybe when I’m 50!

  9. Agreed–calling breakfast club an AO is a bit of a boondoggle to get Big Data points. But, I think it is a great idea for guys to meet at ETs and run to and from.

  10. Well said, Swirly.

    I was just thinking today about how I was really surprised that I was high on the list in Big Data when it first came out. I didn’t really think about it–I was just enjoying being at the workouts with you guys. But once we started keeping track, my competitive nature took over. I also don’t go for the Big Data points, but it does exert a subtle and negative influence on how I relate to other F3 guys-seeing them as competitors for spots on the list.

    Also, I regret in my post saying “made no effort to return for the COT” about you guys. That was a snide comment, and I had no data to back it up. It was pretty hot this morning and easy to overestimate the pace.

  11. Thank you for the welcome back, Sippy. Great to be out there with everyone this week. And, thank you for creating the 3-loop route on a day when the doc had me on a 4 mile restrictor plate. Perfect.

    I’ll say this…I have experienced Big Data addiction at times. I’ve definitely posted for the points…and regretted it later…as in, for the past 5 weeks of not exercising. But, in general, less data-centricity is probably a good thing.

  12. I’m newer to F3RVA than most who have commented here, but want to to offer my thoughts anyway, for what they’re worth. First, F3RVA is awesome! I love everything that it offers. The physical, the mental, and at times, the emotional. If Big Data disappeared tomorrow, I expect my habits would not change. I post for the interactions, not the numbers. The brotherhood, not the stats. That said, I love big data. I don’t view it at all as an unhealthy competition, or a reason not to rest. Rather, I view it as another form of personal accountability and measurement. There is nothing wrong with setting goals and tracking them, and Big Data – thanks to Splinter’s extreme generosity and time – allows each of us, individually, to do exactly that. If we need to tighten up and/or set some parameters, that should be easy to do. If folks want to drop Breakfast Club from the program, speaking only for me, I’m fine with that. But anyone who’s ever run Breakfast Club knows its anything but a boondoggle. Similarly, Early Risers was a real test – not a Big Data freebie.

    I for one hope Big Data remains in similar form. But above all, I can’t wait to see y’all in the gloom.