Almost three years ago I began consistently logging my runs using the Nike+ website. This month I passed 1000 miles.
I never set out with a goal to run a certain number of miles, so 1000 kind of snuck up on me. Having run my whole life, I think I began logging my runs primarily to start keeping myself committed to run regularly, and maybe to see how much I was actually running.
Here’s how it breaks down:
Jun-Dec 2010: 32 runs, average distance 4.8 miles, annual total 155.89 miles.
Jan-Dec 2011: 64 runs, average distance 4.6 miles, annual total 295.26 miles.
Based on the data I captured for seven months in 2010, I probably ran just short of 300 miles for the whole year, just as I did in 2011. That tracks with my own perception of how I was running. I was fairly consistent, with most of my running happening in the best weather during spring and fall. This is obvious when looking at the graph for 2011. In June of 2011, I moved from southern Germany to Las Vegas, Nevada: a dramatic climate change, but my running picked up again in the fall.
Jan-Dec 2012: 77 runs, average distance 4.7 miles, annual total 364.83 miles
Climate change aside, something odd happened in 2012: my mileage was low in the winter, and stayed low through the spring and didn’t pick up until fall. I’m not really sure why, since the weather is fine for running year round in Las Vegas, except for during the day in the summer. It seemed I just skipped my usual volume of running in spring and I’m not sure why. Back to why I started tracking my runs: based on my own perception, I wouldn’t have noticed this. The records gave me the ability to look back. Regardless, what brought caused in increase in miles toward the end of the year was my decision to run a half marathon. I grabbed a training plan from Runner’s World and started to work toward the goal of entering and finishing the Rock ‘n‘ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. I ran that race in December 2012, ended the year strong and moved into 2013 pleased with what I had accomplished in the form of the half marathon.
Jan-Apr 2013: 42 runs, average distance 5.4 miles, annual total 228.77 miles. (Note: I had to repost this chart, which now runs through early October.)
I set a few goals for 2013: to run at least two half marathons and to enter and run my first full marathon. Little did I know that I’d almost immediately knock out one of the half marathons. Late in December I received an email from Competitor prompting me to enter the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona event, pointing out that if I ran these two desert races back-to-back, I would pick up an additional finisher’s medal called the “Double Down”. I entered and rolled right back into the last 30 days of training for a half marathon. The new year was starting as strong as the previous year ended.
Now, four months into the year, I’m keeping my miles up better than in years prior. As April comes to a close, I’ve logged just over 55 miles, pausing only for eye surgery at the very end of the month. I’ll pick right back up again the second week in May, consistent with what the doctors advice. I have my sights set on running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas marathon in November this year, and somewhere between now and that race I’ll find at least one more half marathon to run to achieve my goals for the year. Also, if the last two thirds of this year mirror the first third, I'm on pace to log just short of 1000 miles in 2013 alone. We'll see how that works out, but I'd like to think I can do it with just a few extra miles here and there.
So what does it all mean? There’s certainly satisfaction in seeing I’ve run 1000 miles. I’m looking ahead, I'll cross the 2000 mile mark sometime around the beginning of 2014. If the marathon this fall goes as well as I hope, I want to run at least one marathon in 2014 and attempt a 50K later in the year. I’m convinced seeing my running progress charted out has helped me run like I should, rather than just thinking I’m running like I should. I can see when I’m slacking off. Even so, the charts alone don’t motivate me completely. While I have a goal of running to maintain fitness (physical, mental and emotional), without specific goals to reach (races, time improvements), while still good it will quickly become less purposeful. I think this is what happened during the first half of 2012. Entering and running races ensured I have something specific I’m shooting rather than just the general/overall purpose of fitness.
Then there’s a long-term goal--perhaps THE long-term goal: to run for the rest of my life and to be an example for my son. I want us to enjoy each other’s company for a long time to come, and hopefully serve as a good example for him. And you already know why. Because...
It’s great to be a dad!