Since running the Santa Barbara Marathon on December 5th, my training has been pretty sparse. I took the first 3 days post-marathon off and ran only 10 miles the entire week. Then more recently, my bad back problem made a reappearance and I was hobbling around for a week, walking like an 99 year old man, beginning on Christmas Eve. Thanks to my stellar chiropractor I was back in action after 2 treatments.
On New Year's Eve, after dining on sushi with my 6 year old and reading Power Ranger stories to my 4 year old, then after a couple glasses of bubbly, I updated my 16 year old, 6,100 row Excel spreadsheet that tracks my daily mileage. In fact, I updated the spreadsheet while celebrating the New Year with my Twitter friends.
Yes, my obsessive compulsive side forces me to jot down how much time and how many estimated miles I run each day in my daily calendar book, then periodically (used to be weekly, then monthly, now annually) I updated the manual scribbles from my book into the monster spreadsheet.
If I lose this spreadsheet, I lose a big part of me. This 1.3 MB spreadsheet is the Bible of my running. I used to study it like I was studying for an exam. It was fun to see trends...weekly mileage, how I did in a race after running at a certain level, etc. Now it is more chore than anything. But it is something I must do. It is a 16 year running journal and I'm determined to maintain it.
My running began on Cinco de Mayo 1993, the day after telling a marathon runner co-worker, in my drunken stupor at a chili cook-off, that I would run next year's Los Angeles Marathon. While I don't remember the specifics of that first run, I look at the spreadsheet and see that I ran 3.2 miles that day.
Something I DO remember about that first run is that I had to stop because, as I recall, my ankle hurt. So I ran a few blocks, stopped, started again, stopped, and so on. I see in the log that the next day I did not run, but the day after that I ran 3.2 miles again.
How did I know it was 3.2 miles and not 3 miles or 3.5 miles? Well for many years, in my youth and without wife and kids and life's goings on consuming my time, I would literally drive the course I ran and track it on the car's odometer. I drew a map of my neighborhood and tracked distances for various courses, streets, turnaround points, etc. But I was really into it back then.
Today I measure most all of my runs by time, not by actually measured mileage. I have a pretty good gauge on my running speed and generally can estimate fairly well what my pace is, be it 7 min/mile, slower or faster. Obviously it isn't 100% accurate, but based on the 42,900 miles I've run between May 5, 1993 and December 31, 2009, I think my pace estimate is pretty well dialed in.
So here's to a Happy New Year and New Decade 2010 and may you resolve to track your mileage in a monster Excel spreadsheet like me!
For the record, I logged 1,971 miles in 2009 over the course of 14,346 minutes (or about 239 hours). Wow, that is a lot of time spent running! But I love it!