Tell me if this isn’t a familiar scene: You and/or your running friends follow a long run with a few laps around the parking lot just to even out the mileage on your GPS. A round number just sounds and looks a lot better.
I can relate. Well sorta.
I’m one of those weirdos who never uses a GPS and yet I am always willing to borrow the mileage or pace from a buddy on a long run. Just like everybody else, I want to know how far we’ve gone, how much is left and how quick (or more likely, slow) we’re moving.
But, to me, the exact total mileage for the run—here, I’m mostly talking about long runs—doesn’t really matter. The time on my feet is more important; the mileage naturally follows. Basically, I know if the total long run time is say, two hours, I’ve gone about a certain distance that doesn’t vary a lot. I might be off by a half mile or so, based on the vagaries of the course, humidity and temps, but that’s not a big deal. Certainly, not a big enough deal to run around the parking lot to round the long-run mileage up.
As I said though, I can relate.
I used to keep meticulous training logs that detailed most aspects of my life as well as my running. On a daily basis for 20 years, I used to record the typical running stuff as well as my daily weight, how much I hydrated, my swim, cycling and lifting workouts as well as which movies I had seen, bands I heard and where I had gone to eat. Since I used to travel a lot, I loved to record exactly where in the world I was running. It became my running passport.
In addition to the arcane crap I filled my training logs with, I recorded that day’s mileage, course and time and then totaled the mileage for every week, month and year. Races took up an entire page with my analysis and splits.
My mileage was 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 good as an 80-mile week. A low week of 34 sucked. It had to go up to 40. Even worse was an injury week when my pages were filled with zeros. That hurt worse than the injury!
Just how stupid was this obsession to fill up training logs with perfectly round numbers? Extremely. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I gutted out a superfluous five-mile run just to even the week out. Or ran an extra few miles in an airport or hotel parking lot.
Those numbers became the goal; more so than the marathon. Resting before or after the marathon? Not me. I wasn’t going to sacrifice a week or two of round numbers 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 went cold turkey. I actually left my training log home. I still ran, but didn’t keep any notes and when I got home, didn’t bother to record whatever miles I ran. A few days later, I went someplace else and still didn’t bring my anchor…my log.
And it felt good.
These days I don’t bother with a log. I don’t to write anything down, not even my races (I can always go to athlinks.com to search). To me, a two-hour run is just that. Nothing more, nothing less. It disappears from my consciousness as soon as I finish.
Every December, a friend from my Runner’s World days still sends me a brand new training log. But I just toss it.
O Zach Ornelas, the former Vista Ridge star who graduated from the University of Michigan last year after earning All-Big 10 academic honors, has made his first foray into the world of mountain running a huge success. Ornelas, 22, finished second by five seconds in the USA Mountain Running Champs a couple of week ago at the 26th Cranmore Hill Climb in New Hampshire. By finishing second on the 12-kilometer course in 56:28, Ornelas qualified for a spot on the U.S. team going to Poland in September for the World Mountain Running Championships. Also, Juliana Masciana of Rogue ran in the women’s race and placed seventh (just missed making the team) in 47:17 on the 8-K course.
O A couple of other endurance athletes from Austin—Devon Kierman and Andrew Gale—are up in Penicton, British Columbia this weekend for the three-day Ultraman Canada Champs. This is an event for triguys who find the regular IM course just a little too timid. The Ultraman, with 35 athletes, is a 320-mile event consisting of a 10-K swim, a 261-mile bike and topped off with a 52-mile run.
O Word out of Boston is that the Boston Marathon in 2014 is going to expand its field by 9,000 more entrants. But it is far from a done deal. The Boston police commissioner said that the race could have another 9000 runners in April, but the other cities along the route haven’t signed off on it yet. Because of the tragic bombings last April, 5633 runners who had passed halfway weren’t allowed to finish the race and were guaranteed an entry into the ’14 race. But the B.A.A. and the cities involved haven’t decided whether those runners would be additional entries to the usual size of the field or the field would be expanded.
O The great Alejandro Escovedo will be performing on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Luke’s Locker (115 Sandra Muraida). Seriously. Escovdeo, who is a runner, is in the midst of a national tour that started in June and is taking a few days off in Austin where he lives. He and his band will be playing at least one set at Luke’s. Admission is free as is the beer. Get there early as space is limited. Does it get any better than this?
O In retail news, the ever expanding Austin running market will have a new store next month. It’s going to be called Ready To Run and it will be up on Far West in a store that used to house a RunTex location. The store will be owned by Scott and Karla Hippensteel and Ryan Hess. Hippensteel has coached at Lockhart HS for 28 years and won so many state championships there’s no longer any room in his office for all the trophies. Hippensteel, who lives in South Austin said, “This is the biggest science project I’ve ever attempted.” Hippensteel worked part time over the years at RunTex and Hess also worked there.
O Also, Rogue Running is moving this fall from its original location, just east of I-35 (500 San Marcos) to a new spot (more parking and closer to the trail) on West 5th Street. No date has been announced yet.
O Jenny Fritz has been a familiar presence in road races since she was old enough to run. The Dripping Springs star who place fifth in the state 3200-meter final in May in 11:06, is leaving next week for North Carolina where she’ll attend and run for Davidson College. Her roommate will be Hannah Rieden who ran for east Austin’s LBJ High.
O Joseph Rosales, 22, plead guilty earlier this week to two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was driving on West Cesar Chavez in May, 2012 when he struck and killed 80-year-old John Griffith who was walking on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail, near the Lamar Bridge. State District Judge David Crain sentenced Rosales to five years in prison on each count but they will be served concurrently.
O If you stream NetFlix, there’s a cool doc called “Run For Your Life.” No, it isn’t as good as “Breaking Bad” or “House of Cards”. This little documentary is on Fred Lebow, the former head of the New York Road Runners Club and the NYC Marathon. It has terrific archival footage of early road racing and traces the history of big-city marathons. Lebow, who died in 1994 at the age of 62, took the marathon and put it front and center on the biggest stages in the world. Although somewhat of a divisive figure in running, he was undeniably the most influential person in the sport who never lost his love for running and runners.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Late for the Sky,” by Jackson Browne. If I had to choose a favorite JB recording, this would be it. But, they’re all great.
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