Monday, June 20

My running log is better than a diary

Having just written about running while traveling, I started to wonder "how many places have I really run?" And in trying to answer that question, I was drawn down an entirely different path...

Back in June of 2003 I started keeping an Excel spreadsheet of all of my key workouts. (Yes - I know how much of a dork I am!)
My log includes brief notes about where I was running at the time (sometimes very brief... "waterfront" "hills" "lake"... um, where?). I've been a runner for longer, but only really geeked out about it and started the spreadsheet in '03.

So tonight I started looking through my old training logs, and it was a better jog down memory lane than any diary I've ever tried to keep...

I can see my progression over the years, from an 11-minute-mile run/walker to my "slow" long runs being more in the 8-9 range. I can see that I have occasionally had down times - months where my pace slowed or training slacked off - but so far I have always rebounded from those times.

There was also a brief period where I was a triathlete. (But we won't speak of that now as I haven't been on a bike in 3 years...)

Most interestingly, I can see almost 10 years of my history... In the mid-2000s I apparently couldn't get enough of Sedona, AZ. (Really? Did I go there that often?) Before that, I'd fly across the country every 3-4 months to visit my family and while there I'd run in my old neighborhood. But eventually we all smartened up and decided that it was more fun to meet at an interesting destination somewhere in the middle. As a result, I've added runs in New York City and Napa to my list.

I've logged many miles alone. I've also had a few running buddies by my side over the years, some longer than others, but all important in their own way.

I've run in cities, parks, mountains, and on the beach. I've run in 15 states and four countries (besides the US).

On the darker side of the training logs, I can also see a divorce in the making... not because of running, but it's there in the details. Deciding to train for a marathon didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but in hindsight I realize that goal was the only thing keeping me together as my marriage was falling apart. Time pounding the pavement was time with no fighting, lying, or blaming. It put me in control of something when it felt like I had control over nothing...

Then there was the graduate school phase.

Oh, how working full time and going to school full time puts a crimp in miles logged each week! My grad school records are filled with lots of time on machines in the gym so I could study while running. My running (and waistline) suffered for it, but at least I didn't quit!

And then, a few years later, I can see a new phase in the logbook. I met a man who ran with a group called the San Diego Running Meetup (SDR for short). We went on a few dates. He showed up at a race I was running, unannounced. It was hot. I crashed, burned, and sweat like a pig. I was sure he'd look at my abysmal finish time and be convinced that I was lying about being "a runner." He gave me a hug (sweat and all) and took me out for breakfast.

Then he convinced me to join SDR.

Then he convinced me to do track workouts.

Then we did a 10k the day before our wedding.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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