Tell me if this hasn’t happened to you: You and/or your training group follow a hard long run with a few short laps around the parking lot just to even out the mileage on your GPS because a round number and looks a lot better than say 18.7.

I can relate. Well sorta.

I’m one of those weirdos who never uses a Garmin or Soleus GPS and yet I am always quick to bogart the mileage and pace from someone who has one on a long run. Just like everybody else, I want to know how far we’ve covered, how much is left and how quick (or more likely, slow) we’re moving along.

Even though I admit to caring about the distance we’re covering, the exact total mileage for the run—here, I’m mostly talking about long runs—doesn’t really matter all that much to me. The time on my feet is more important; the mileage naturally follows. Basically, I know if the total long-run time on my watch is say, two hours, I’ve gone a certain distance that doesn’t vary a whole lot.

Chances are I might be off by a half mile or so, based on the vagaries of our hilly long-run courses and the weather, but it’s not a big deal. Certainly, not a big enough deal to run around the parking lot with my GPS-carrying friends to round the long-run mileage up.

Still, I can relate to everyone who records every last step they run. I used to keep meticulous training logs that detailed most aspects of my life as well as my running. On a daily basis, I used to record my mileage as well as my weight, how much I hydrated and ate as well as any swimming, cycling and lifting workouts–plus which movies I had seen. Since I used to spend a great deal of my life on the road, nothing gave me greater pleasure than recording some exotic spot where I had a great run. My log became my running passport.

Races—especially marathons–took up an entire page of my log with my splits and detailed analysis of what went right…and wrong. But it was my weekly mileage that became so sacred that, somewhere along the way, the mileage became an end in itself. If 55 for a week was OK, 60 was a lot better. A peak marathon training week that ranged in the 70s wasn’t nearly as satisfying as an 80-mile week.

The mileage highs were triumphant and built confidence; the valleys were so depressing it would send me into a tailspin. A low week of 36 sucked rocks. By running around a little extra, I could get it up to 40 which didn’t hurt as bad. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I gutted out a superfluous three-miler just to even the week out. Or, ran an extra few miles on an ugly airport access road in between flights that served no purpose whatsoever.

My mileage numbers eclipsed all else and became the goal; more so than the marathon. Resting before or after the marathon? Never. Not me. I wasn’t going to sacrifice a week or two of round numbers—it would lower my yearly total–just for the race. I ran the day before every marathon and somehow, the day after.

Gradually, it dawned on me: I was crazy.

Then, on a family vacation, I made a conscious decision to leave my training log home and went cold turkey. I still ran, but when I got home, didn’t bother to record my vacation miles. A few days later, I flew somewhere and didn’t even bring my anchor…my log.

And it felt good.

These days I don’t bother with any type of log. To me, a two-hour run is just that. Nothing more, nothing less. It disappears from my memory bank the moment after I shower.

I still care deeply about my running, but I’ve ditched the obsessive record keeping and mileage mania that used to rule my roost. Running is less stressful without that burden.

Not that anyone has noticed. Every December, a friend still sends me a brand new training log. But I just flip through the pretty pictures and toss it.

I’m free.


O Even though Nora Colligan PR’ed at the California International Marathon in Sacramento a couple of weeks ago, her time of 2:44:21 just missed the Olympic Marathon Trials “B” qualifier by 21 seconds. But then earlier this week, USA Track & Field decided in its infinite wisdom that the time standards for the ’16 Olympic Trials couldn’t be faster than the actual Olympic Games qualifiers. Each country can enter one athlete in each event regardless of time, but any other entrants must meet an Olympic standard. In the women’s Olympic Marathon, that standard is 2:45. So, USATF rolled back the qualifying time by a minute for the US Marathon Trials. The men’s qualifier is now 2:19 and the women’s has been revised to 2:45 which means Colligan is in. Other Olympic Track qualifiers were eased as well, including for the men’s 1500 meters (3:38) which means Leonel Manzano is in from a time from he ran earlier in the year.

O At the BCS Marathon last weekend up in College Station, Hillary Montgomery was the only runner to get a Trials qualifier. The former Aggie who is from Spring, was sixth overall in the half marathon in a course record of 1:12:56 which was easily good enough to qualify for the Marathon Trials in February. Montgomery had already qualified for the Trials in the Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in October, but her time in Aggie land was a 40-second PR. Allison Macsas of Rogue already has a spot on the starting line of the Olympic Trials, but she ran through the wet, windy conditions (there were some flooded roads) in College Station to take second in the half in 1:17:31.

O Another former Aggie—Henry Lelei—won the men’s half in College Station in 1:06:49, but former UT stud Will Nation (who has already qualified for the Trials) was third in 1:07:41. Said Nation, “I let go of Henry and another African {Elivd Ngetich}around five miles, thinking that I could reel them in later. But they kept pushing the pace and I couldn’t close the gap. It wasn’t a great time, but I was happy with my effort.” Nation, who won the 3M Half last January in his very first road race, probably won’t race again before the Olympic Trials in February.

O BTW: Liang Wu of Austin fourth in the BCS Marathon in 2:54:51.

O Up in Dallas, most of the attention in the marathon was focused on the celebrity runners who teamed up together to run. But, the big winner from our perspective was 65-year-old Vance Taylor of Lago Vista. The former prez of the Austin Runners Club won his age group in 1:42:57. Fastest half of the day by an Austin runner was recorded by Ozie Hood who ran 1:19:01.

O In the Dallas Marathon, golden oldie—Jerry Fleming of Austin—was second in the 65-69s in 3:49:25. James Greenham was second in the 35-39 in 2:54:36 as was Jeff Zenger (20-24) in 2:56:05. Katie Hughes was the top Austin woman in Dallas in 3:29:08 (fifth in the 30-34), while Lynn Bucknall’s 3:58 earned her second place in the 55-59s. Another winner was Melodye Evans who won the 65-69 with her time of 5:09.

O Congrats to our very own Gilbert Tuhabonye on being named the Young Alumnus of the year by his alma mater, Abilene Christian. Hard to imagine anyone being more deserving.

O More congrats to Paul Salazar and Jordan Laroe on their engagement this week.

O In San Franciso’s Golden Gate Park last weekend, Carmen Troncoso added another national title by winning her age group (55-59) in the USATF National Cross-Country Club Championships. Carmen, 56, finished 28th overall among the masters women in 24:04 (6-K). Former Austinite Chris Kimbrough, 46, (who we still claim as our own though she lives in Portland), was third overall in the women masters division in 22:15 but won her age group. Among the men, former Longhorns Ryan Dohner and Craig Lutz both placed for their team (Hoka One One of Flagstaff). Dohner was 11th overall in 29:44 (10-K), while Lutz was 16th in 29:49.

O I guess it’s news whenever Lance Armstrong runs a race, Although the ex-Mr. Yellow Jersey is banned from cycling, triathlons and most road races, small races that are not signators of the World Doping Agency don’t seem to care if Armstrong runs or not. Last Sunday, Armstrong entered—and won—the Woodside (California) Ramble 35-K in 3:00:36. He tweeted out, “Can’t remember the last time I had so much fun suffering for three hours.” It might not be his last trail race. Armstrong indicated he might run a 100-miler in 2016. If he does, controversy will certainly follow him as the ultramarathon community has not warmly received cheaters and dopers in other races.

O At the Foot locker National Cross-Country Championships in San Diego, Abby Gray of Alamo Heights HS in San Antonio placed 18th overall in 18:09. Gray, who won the Texas cross-country title last month and won the 1600 and 3200 at last May’s state champs, has made a verbal commitment to attend Arkansas next year. The highest placed Texan in San Diego was Reed Brown of Grapevine who finished 16th in 15:33. But Garek Bielaczyc of Salt Lake City, who was fourth in 15:14, has already signed with Texas. So has Texas state champ Daniel Golden of The Woodlands.

O The headliner has been announced for the fifth annual Austin 10/20 race on April 5th. Fastball, the Austin trio, will be playing on the main stage after the race at The Domain’s Central Park.

O What I’m listening to this morning: “Train Home,” by Chris Smither.

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