Microcassette Recorders


Experience From - Larry Miller , Sarah Tynes , Jeff Riddle , Bill Andrews , Jan Lambert , Gordon Chace , Rod Hammons , Chip Marz , Jeff Bristow , Dan Temianka ,

Larry Miller

I was thinking that it would be a neat idea to carry along a microcassette recorder during an ultra, just say whatever you're feeling along the way, and then "relive" the experience in the future. Has anyone tried this and are there any particular brands that might hold up to jostling, weather, etc.?

Sarah Tynes

THAT is a cool idea! I don't know how many times I have written a report in my head, only to find later that all I remember is that I had some great ideas but no clue of what there were. I've also had those 'next time I do this race I'm gonna' thoughts only to be brain dead at the end. Ha, it'd probably quite amusing to listen to my weird train of thought!

Jeff Riddle

At 1998 Umstead 100 I used a hand held regular size cassette recorder. Since Umstead was 10 mile loops at the end of each loop I would record my thoughts and feelings. Then on my 7 loop, after dark, I took it with me and recorded by thoughts and body aches as I was weaving up the 9 mile hill. It's funny to listen to now but you could definitely tell after each loop a little weariness was coming on and the last loop my voice was a sorry and pitiful self. My wife and kids listened to it and thought I was on deaths bed, but in actual I was just sleepy and could not go on. I used a $20 Kmart special. Just have plenty of batteries. Rain was not a factor. I'll use it again in future 100 mile runs.

Bill Andrews

I always carry a Sony ICD-70 Digital recorder (see http://1cache.com/1cache/sonicdigrec1.html) with me when I run ultras. It stores 16 minutes of information, fits very nicely in a fanny pack or camelbak (3 inches X 2 inches), and everything your record can be downloaded to your computer afterwards.

The main reasons I use such a recorder:

  1. I do my best thinking while running. I always have great ideas during a run, but can never remember what they are when I return home.

  2. I'm always saying to myself during ultras that the next time I run oneI'm going to do "this" or do "that" differently. However, when the ultra is over I never remember these things until the next ultra.

  3. When getting writers block, I always overcome it during a run. However, when I return from the run I can never remember how I worded the sentence or paragraph while running. I have written most of my papers lately while running.

  4. During training runs (e.g. the WS training camp two weeks ago) I can record my times from point to point so that I can study them later. How often have you started a long run (or a leg of a run) only to find later that you can't remember your starting time. Recording such times helps me focus on my strengths and weaknesses so I know what I need to work on in my future training.

  5. As a diary. It is nice to re-live the run afterwards.

Note: 16 minutes seems like a short time, but I've never used it up. If you are a very talkative person then try the ICD-80. It's a new product that just has more time on it. Alternatively, you can increase the time on the ICD-70 and get poorer quality recordings (I don't recommend that).

Jan Lambert

Larry, Yes, I tried your idea of running an ultra and recording whatever was on my mind, and the recording sounded like an army troop marching. I did at a Jed Smith 50KM where I was running on gravel, trail and pavement. It was funny to listen to some years later. I can't even remember what type of recorder I was using.

Gordon Chace

I almost used a little dictation recorder as a do-it-myself tool of lap-counting in a solo track ultra a few years ago. The event was a non-competetive fundraiser with everybody else relaying, (American Cancer Society, Relay for Life) so there was no official scorekeeping.

The idea was to use a mechanical "inventory" clicker as primary data, and a series of verbal announcements would represent a complete audit trail. I could make each tape last for several times longer than nominal duration, via start/stop.

In test runs, I found the recorder worked fine inside a Ziploc for sweat protection, the sound would go thru the plastic well enough for my purposes. It was a generic inexpensive model.

I didn't use it for the actual event, as what I was doing was already so far off the scale of insanity for the non-athletic mainstream people involved; I didn't want to look and act any stranger then necessary. :-) I figured out another auditing technique which was not as strict, but sufficient for something unofficial and less work for me on-the-run.

Rod Hammons

I carried a small microcassette recorder last year during the Mardi Gras Ultra Distance Classic 125M. I was wearing an Aquifer and it fit perfectly in the upper left pouch. I took it out and recorded visual observations as well as how I was feeling at the time. While I ran 100 miles (DNFed) I only used it for the first 40 or so miles. The reason was that Josh Miller had started running with me and he thought it was too analytical, too corny. So I felt a little embarrassed using it and thus quit. When I sat down the following week to write up a report, I was amazed at how much I had forgotten when trying to recall from memory. I would play back some part and say to myself ... WOW, I forgot about that ... Then I wished I had stuck my nose up at Josh and had continued to use it the entire race ... well the entire distance I covered anyway.

Chip Marz

On my second 134 mile run around Lake Pontchartrain, I taped my thoughts about every 2-3 hours at brief rest breaks. It turned out to be quite a long narrative...well, it was a 38 1/2 hr effort!...but man was it ever revealing! I could see my mental deteriation throughout the run. I was VERY happy to have done that, as it gives me the chance to recall the challenge of the event, whenever I want..tho I don't really wanna relive it TOO often!

Jeff Bristow

At work I've been using a Panasonic RN-404 for a couple of years and it seems pretty sturdy. I mention this model because it's fairly inexpensive - $35.00 or so - and easy to operate. You might give it a try and let us all know how it works in the outdoors.

Dan Temianka

I like the Sony digital IC-Recorder ICD-30. Weighs only 2.4 oz including 2 AAA batteries, many cool features. I carry it in a small plastic bag to protect from sweat etc.