Friday, January 25, 2013

How's Your Handwriting?

I finally picked up my running log for 2013. Luckily, I found one at Barnes and Noble, so I didn't have to send away for one like last year. Yep, it's a real live grab-the-pen and write in it log. And yep, I know there are a multitude of websites where I can log and track my miles (in fact, I use one: dailymile.com). I simply prefer the written log for several reasons.

First, I'm an old school kind of guy. I began running in 1966 and on my first day of cross country practice, Coach Pingel said, "log your miles." So, I did. I've put logs on lined paper, self designed calendrical formats (calendrical..... like that one?), and pretty much every major log ever published in the running world. My preference is The Runner's Diary, designed by Matt Fitzgerald. I like the ease of writing a workout and the subsequent ease of reviewing them as well. There is plenty of room to pontificate the virtues or flaws for any given workout and pages for goals, progress, pace charts and more.

One of the driving forces behind my running is the connection of me to my planet. Maybe it's a kinesthetic thing. I like the actual act of running, the doing it. As a result, I like to actually write about my runs. Pen to paper. What a concept.

I like the privacy of my log. Fitzgerald calls it a "diary," and some days it reads very much like the musings of a heart-broken or extremely smitten teenage girl. I get to ramble, praise, criticize, and rant to my heart's content. And..... like I said, I get to write. And Lord only knows, in this 21st century most humans handwriting has gone to hell in a hand basket from lack of use. On dailymile.com, much like other forms of social media, anyone can read my postings, so I tend to be a little more guarded. "Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts." In my log, I can let loose.

More than privacy, I have concerns about the Daily Mile's (and any other website's) longevity. What happens if they fold tomorrow? Where do my workouts go? I know that if Facebook dies tomorrow, I'll still have friends and still have pictures. I won't lose the content of my life. I will survive. But lose my workouts? No, not willing to risk that!

Mostly I enjoy using my log to reflect back on my running. I can trace progress prior to a race, see where I overtrained, relive the fast days. It's fun to look back and see entries like: "10 miles easy, 57 minutes." 

Reflecting on my running is, in many ways, reflecting on my life. Having chronicled forty-six years of an activity gives me wonderful insight when it comes to the years gone by. I can read the highs, the lows, and everything in between. It has become, maybe, a snapshot of a life on planet Earth.

So, I was excited to catch up this morning. And excited to look ahead. 

Run on!

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