The idea of an FKT, the Fastest Known Time on a particular route, is quite popular on Vancouver Island, it's essentially Strava, an online gps community ranking various gps segments meets PB's once logged and hidden away in a training logs or shared amongst friends at a club house on a wall. You can take a crack at an FKT anytime as it doesn't require there to be a sanctioned race, you pick the time of day and place, and go. It's genuine, and I believe somewhat informal, or at least lends its self to a bit more of an honour system. I dont know this for sure, maybe there are rules in place, we tend to formalize things as time passes and more people get involved. The beer mile is like that, it started one way, 4 beers/4laps, mark, set, go, then a rules committee got their hands on it and they made sure the official beer mile had certain qualifiers, the beer had to be a certain percentage, it had to be from a can? Etc. Etc. And the record went from a fastest known time to a formal record, recognized by a committee, and such. That's the difference between official records and Fastest Known Times, official records are formal and must be done in the presence of officials, a prescribed number, according to a set of regulations, recognized by some federation, made up of more officials, the record the result of a race. Fastest Known Times, as far as I know, appreciating I could always look it up, which I wont, dont rely on officials, committees, and shun having too many rules. I hope this is the case and its more of an honour system, a "hey what time did you do" game, with a possible appendix being a photo of you with your watch face and the summit in the background, with no sign of photoshop or shortcuts, a "promise you didn't cheat" policy of sorts. As I write this I just know someone made up more rules to FKT's when personal GPS came along and took over as they satisfy our love for standards and verification. GPS watches changed everything, how many times have you seen people scrambling to find their GPS watch, or cursing that the battery died, acting as if it isn't logged on Strava, then it didn't happen. I used to have my moments with GPS watches, gritting my teeth searching my bag for a wrist weight that mostly worked. I can't find my GPS ornament now which leaves me tempted to buy a Fenix3 by garmin, I'm told I can log my paddling stroke rate and cross reference it with my heart rate along with a whole lot of other data I probably won't end up looking at. I really just want the fly by option so I can make little movies of where to explore and encourage more people to come paddleboading, with us.
And then - there are what I really wanted to write about - Fastest unKnown Times and the beauty of not really knowing. With a FuKT there are no rules, no committees, no oversight, no need for any of it, the only requirement, is no watch. There must be no known recording of the time. The freedom inherit in this is profound, the purpose, intent, and the purity, of simply doing it, to be present to the experience, with the subplot; no matter how fast you go under the supervision of a watch, your FuKT's will always allow you to claim, to yourself and to others, if you like, that you think you have gone, or just went, faster.
I had this in mind when I set the FuKT for the Gowlland Harbour Resort to the small island at the entrance to Gowlland Harbour, across from Steep Island Resort, and back. I set a FuKT, a super FuKT in fact. I so badly want to say I was right FuKT at the end, but that doesn't really work. We were ashured of a FuKT when we launched from April point marina at low tide, navigated the narrows into the harbour from the south end, cut across the middle to Gowlland Resort, ferried ourselves against solid chop and a cross wind back to the northern tip of Gowlland Island, crossed over to Steep Island to check out the washing machine turnstile conditions off the tip before turning our boards with the wind at our backs to skirt the currents between Steep and Gowlland on the west side, ride some boat wake and fly with a tail wind and rolling lumps back to the marina. In both instances, it was the first time i had navigated the routes, and did so without a watch, thus assuring, Fastest unKnown Times. In fact, these FuKT's can be known as FuKTFTB, Fastest unKnown Times From The Beginning. It's such a pleasure to do a route for the first time without a watch, outside the bounds of being timed, forever assuring that the first time can always remain, the FuKT; "that was fast, we were really rolling right from the beginning, nailed the middle section and brought it home strong, XX:XX is the FKT...BUT.. I don't think we went as fast as I did the first time, when I FuKT it" who knows, you will never know, the bliss of a great FuKT .
"Finite players play within the boundaries, Infinite players play with the boundaries" James P. Carse
All of this reminds me of "ish". I believe precise preparation leads to predictable performance gains, i understand this as a concept, and in practice. During my athletic career I trained precisely, which included the "ish". What colour is that car? It's red'ish. What time will they be here, 4'ish. When it comes to training, if we are really in tune with our body, we begin to understand that what happens to be written down on paper, is really just the prescribers best guess, hopefully an educated one, but a guess none the less. The program being followed is best guessing at how many reps to do, how long the run should be, how far you need to swim, how fast you will go. When you attune yourself to how you're doing, when you are able to set aside your ego, silence the chorus of second guesses, and internal reprisal, you realize the boundaries are not set in stone, they are not assigned by a doctrine handed down from above, and as educated guesses, you can give yourself permission to have some room for "ish". Today's run is scheduled for 12km, it's been 11ish and I'm feeling done, it's time to walk home, an easy example of "ish" being applied. This could go the other way too, scheduled for 12, it's now closer to 13, no stress, we go to "ish". It's as much an attitude as anything else, in fact, it's all an attitude. A calm one, which pays tribute to the power of precision, while at the same time being mindful, of the attitude of "ish" as it comes from the same family as FuKTs.