Rambling Roads: Do Over

By George A. Hancock

The New Year begins early on a Wednesday morning. Some folks are probably still celebrating. Others are sleeping, seeking rest for the new 2020 day. January 1, 2020 ushers in a do-over.

Our New Year begins with a clean slate. Our pages are fresh. Our year-long story awaits. The New Year is that classic do-over. January 1 gives us a new beginning despite what happened last year. Or, what we failed to accomplish in the 2019 year. 2020 is a do over.

Numerous runners start a do-over every year. I’m part of this group. Running logs are very popular with runners of all ages. Some runners use various apps to track their running data. Others, like myself, use the old style running-log books.

I first used a running log in 1992. I used the yellow David N. Meyer The Day By Day Runner’s Log book. This training dairy was published by Longmeadow Press.

I started road running in 1973. So, before the 1992 log books I recorded my daily runs on a large wall calendar. The monthly mileage and races run with finishing time and place were tallied and transcribed into a blank hardback book. I still have and use that same book today. The book is a cool historical record.

I used the Meyer training log for nearly 15 years. I purchased at one point a large quantity of these yellow spiral bound books. Eventually, I used this entire supply and discovered this book was not available. I used the paper Runner’s World version for several years. These were OK just smaller.

Several years ago I discovered the red Marty Jerome The Complete Runner’s Day-By-Day Log Calendar Book. This great book is year specific. My 2019 book as of this writing is nearly complete. My 2020 log book is ready to go for the upcoming running year.

Here is some information for those individuals not familiar with these running diaries. My book is year and day specific. I enter details of my daily run plus the distance run. I also note the time and temperature. Now for the last year or so run data from my Garmin watch is recorded.

The numerous Apps available for this same purpose are used by numerous runners. These days more runners probably use the Apps versus the old style running journal. This is fine. Any record keeping is great. A runner can review this data seeking answers to some nagging issue. Or, just review the data to see how one was running three years ago.

I prefer the written log journal. Sure, these take space but I enjoy entering the daily running information. I have running logs from 1992 to the present plus five Runner’s World calendars with mileage run dating from 1987 to 1991. And, as mentioned, the previous running information was entered in my blank running book. It’s a great historical running record.

Every new calendar year was a do-over. Once the year was complete, the data was tallied and recorded. I would begin the yearly running process all over again on January 1. I always tried to run and race my best. This running information supported my running endeavors.

Then we have that running-streak phenomenon. A running streak is loosely defined as running every day for at least one mile. Many streak runners create their own running idiosyncrasies. How much and where they run is part of this daily running formula.

My first running streak began on February 26, 1978. That streak lasted until June 24, 2002. The streak total was 24.24 years or 8,854 continuous days. My second running streak began on June 22, 2002. That streak lasted 15.52 years or 5,670 days. That streak finished on December 29, 2017.

Both running streaks were stopped due to serious physical issues. The second streak end was due to three herniated disc issues. Surgery was performed in 2018 to correct the most serious disc issue.

The lumbar disc surgery was performed at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh on July 20, 2018. The surgery recovery period resulted in my longest downtime in my road-running career. I did not run for 43 days. I walked every day. Eventually I was able to walk twice a day.

I began running again on September 1, 2018. And yes that date started a third running streak. I was running a mile or more every day. I slowly worked up to my current 30 miles per week mileage.

I did stop road racing. I’m staying at 30 miles per week. And so far without any issues other than those myriad distracted drivers that populate our roads.

Recently I was intrigued by the question posed to me just how many days have you missed? I have the running records. I figured this should be an easy answer. It was.

Since September 1, 1976 I’ve missed running every day just 59 times. Forty-three of those days were in that surgery recovery 2018 time frame. This is my favorite running achievement. I know all this due to recording my daily runs in a log book.

So, as we begin what should be an incredible 2020 year please consider using a running log of some type and document your runs. This data is fascinating reading 15 to 20 years from now.

Run smart and Happy New Year!

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