A Journal of a Runner’s Rebirth as a Role Model

Over the past 25 years (in a 42 year running career), I have used probably a dozen different ways of tracking my workouts and my progress. Ranging from the Runner’s World Runner’s Log to my first computer that had a printer with paper with the little holes on the side to little pads of paper. I recorded every workout, every mile run, my times, my splits, my pace, the weather, you name it. I listed every race in chronological order, by distance, by pace, etc.

And then I just stopped. Health issues and life issues were foremost in my mind and it all seemed pointless.

What could I record anyway? I ran fast times, great races, had a great streak, I’ve run over 45,000 miles – all the things that matter to a runner. I would never be able to run as fast or as far or for so many days in a row. I have bounced back from adversity many, many times, but could never bounce up to the level that I once was able to achieve.

So why start another journal. Because maybe its not the running that is important, but rather what I might be able to do with my body this time. I have been repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (you know, a sign of insanity) and maybe it was. Going out the door day after day and running somewhere, but going nowhere. Dumb, a waste of time, call it what you will, but it was all I knew. It worked once, so it should work again, right?

Wrong. Let me give you an example. I ran seven days a week from July 28th until just before Thanksgiving (which is nothing considering that I have run 7 days a week for over 4 years and most of that time averaged about a 10K a day). We’re talking less than 4 months and I was running okay, but then I picked up a bad cold from my daughter during Thanksgiving week, broke a tooth on December 8th (I remember because it was my birthday) because my calcium had gotten so low, had oral surgery on Christmas Eve and didn’t recover until after the first of the new year. New Year’s Day is important to some people because they start things that day and then try to keep them going. I couldn’t even start running again until January 3rd and then it was back to the same old routine of trying to get in shape again for the 100th time.

Although I always look like I’m in shape, as the years go by, it is getting harder to fake. But once again I started to count the miles and think about pace and having a streak. Well that only lasted until the morning of February 4th when I woke up in the middle of the night knowing that the pain I was feeling in my stomach wasn’t hunger pangs. A flu like stomach virus robbed me of another week. It also meant that my plans to start P90X for the third time were derailed and I changed my start date to February 11th.

That day may be significant for another reason, but I won’t give it that significance for another 3 months. One thing that it does mark is my departure from doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This time, my “log” doesn’t mention running and only includes my P90X workouts and I follow the online program provided with the program. I do run as part of the workout but don’t think about or record the workout in any way.

Is there anything to report after a week? Well, actually there is. Both my three year old and my 1 year old got sick this week, one with a stomach virus and one with a bad cold and I didn’t get either. That is remarkable for someone with a chronic illness whose immune system has seemed to be irreparably damaged and who had so little continuity in his life because of it. If you want to read more about the nightmare of my life, click here. But this is not about the past. It is about today and tomorrow and if I am doing something that may be improving my immune system and may be giving me some optimism about my health, I need to make note of what I am doing.

My running stories are all in the past, but if I can help someone today to have hope that they, too, can feel well again, then that is something to journal again. It is something to chronicle to give hope and provide some optimism for someone who may have had their own health nightmare and need to know that it is possible to recover and go on with your life. I won’t know until I know what tomorrow brings…

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