Ever get that feeling that something you started turned out to be a bit more tricky than you thought. Well for runners this can often be the case, but I really think I underestimated the task I inadvertently set myself in creating an off the cuff survey. I have to let people know the results, where’s the fun in participating if you never find out what has been discovered? This means that I have to work out how to wade through the data and present them to my occasionally interested public. The first of these surveys was very simple with only 5 closed questions, this new one has 20 with a few open ended answers, and to be honest it has made my head swim. I wouldn’t claim to be a natural academic, and the whole situation reminds me of how this whole running malarkey started.
If there are any regular readers out there in internet land you may have come across the story of how my arm was twisted into entering a half marathon before. I could have started my running career with a learn to run course or a 5 or 10k race, but I went straight for the half marathon. I have a sneaking suspicion that if it had been a full marathon rather than a half I would have still gone for it, though that might have been both the beginning and end of running for me. The point is that it was an idea that I had very little clue about actually bringing to fruition, and very little comprehension of how to go about achieving the goal. The full magnitude of what I had set myself up for only revealed itself when I first went out for a run and found myself unable to even cover 200 metres without gasping for breath, like a fish in the bottom of a boat. I could have just backed out at that point, quietly walked away and not had my life taken over by this obsession I have developed, but where is the fun in that? This survey has given me a similar choice, I could leave it and walk away. Instead there is a part of me that although daunted relishes the challenge. What better way for a council grunt to leave their mark on the world than by stepping outside of their comfort zone and making information available to people who are obviously interested?
The response to this set of questions has been very positive, larger than I thought, but it lies in the realm of being manageable. When I first looked at the responses it had been put out there for a day. There were enough responses to make me feel a bit overwhelmed, just like imagining running 13.1 miles when I couldn’t even make it past 200 metres. In the same way as I went back for more after that first excursion in running shoes there is a certain challenge to the whole thing. I need to stop take stock and use what I learned from the training for that first half to this new situation. The first lesson is to keep at it, not get overwhelmed and work it out manageable chunk by manageable chunk. So I have a plan. I am going to write a series of articles and I guess you could call this the prelude, and just so my dear readers can keep me on track I am going to lay out my plan now.
Next week I am going to go into a little more detail about why I conducted this survey and what I hoped to find out, explaining why I picked the questions I did. The next article in the series will look at the kind of people who responded, where they live, how long they have been running, gender etc… Then I will start to get onto the main focus, how social my sample base actually is, and maybe come to some conclusions about that all important question, to high5 or not to high5. The penultimate week will consist in picking apart some of the anecdotal open answers given, and finally I will have a look at what impact this survey has already had on some people who responded. That’s right you heard it here first my silly little survey has already changed the attitude of at least one runner, and that has got to be worth making an effort for. I guess in the world of blogging it’s the closest I’ll ever get to bling, and that has got to be worth a few #smugpoints!