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Posts Tagged ‘journal’

Last week, I had one of those moments that gave me insight into what the apostles must have felt when they saw Jesus saunter up on Easter Sunday (I always imagine him as shining, like a light bulb). Or when the parents of a kidnapped child have him brought back to them. Or when someone gets a lost wallet with everything still in it returned in the mail by a good Samaritan. Okay maybe I am exaggerating for effect but by now you all know that’s my style.

Another thing you all know is that I am quirkily old-fashioned about my running journal. I keep an actual, carbon-based record of my training, and it is much more than a cut-and-dried list of stats. It holds nuggets of emotion and memory on each page. But right before the year flipped from May to June, I lost it. It took me a full month before I accepted that it was gone for good, and that I’d better start up another log of my workouts. So I did, and I built up six weeks of entries. I had moved on.

Wednesday I was poking through some of my book campaign files (each title gets its own file, color-coded by season and organized by on sale date. It’s a thing of beauty, my system) since my boss needed revised numbers for the budget (we are only one month into fiscal so it’s still a bit of a guessing game).  All of a sudden, my heart started pounding, my ears started ringing, and everything else faded to black as my eyes developed tunnel vision on what looked like the corner of my long-lost running journal! I held my breath and hastily shoved away the other papers in the file–Yes! Ohmygod ohmygod it was my old training log! I gave a gigantic whoop of happiness, and clutched the notebook to me. I stood up from my desk and burst out into the hall laughing with joy, too revved up to simply sit still. I skipped and ran a lap around the floor, laughing and shouting Whoo hoo! I am so happy! Awesome! Yes! (etc etc) while waving my running journal in the air above my head, victorious. I was breathless not from the effort of running but from mere excitement. I had given up all hope, and yet here it was, patiently waiting for me, quietly hibernating in an office folder all this time. I keep my campaign folders in the desk file drawer just to the left of where I tuck in my chair, so my training log was literally inches from me all this time, steadfast. What a comforting, romantic thought. Are our most dear always like that–perhaps silent and unseen at times, but evernear?

(If you are curious to know what it is like to have me as an officemate, consider this: during my lap around the floor, I passed no fewer than 20 offices and cubicles. Only two people popped their heads out to see what my ruckus was about. Most folks ignored my strange outburst, clearly considering it par for the course.)

I returned to my desk and, still too happy to return to budgeting, fired off first an email to a running buddy with the good news and then a series of tweets chronicling the momentous reunion. Folks on Twitter were so understanding when I lost my journal that I was betting they’d be happy to hear I had found it after all this time. And they were! Dozens of friends tweeted back at me their congrats and gladness.

Later than night, I laid in bed and spent some quality time reacquainting myself with my running journal. I flipped through the pages, starting in January, the cockles of my heart warming as memories of my workouts came rushing back. Here was the run with EN where I nearly leapt into his arms as racoons fought to our left; there was my long run with Matt through his neighborhood in Denver. I studied the hard weeks I’d forgotten about, when I’d felt sore and tired and every distance was an odd effort. I shrugged over all my false starts at cross-training (boot camp classes at the gym, the 100 Push-ups program, Pilates class). But mostly I was proud at all the miles I had logged for the London Marathon–I’d forgotten how diligently I’d trained for that hard-won PR. Rereading the log was like a leisurely dinner spent catching up with an old friend, where reminiscence dominated the conversation. That’s when I decided I would keep putting my workouts for the rest of 2010 into my new journal. “The books” will always be fudged for June 2010, but I will consider that the blank page separating the two chapters of my running life this year.  It isn’t always such a happy occasion when things from the past resurface, and it’s rare indeed when those things can be brought back into the present and be part of my forward motion.  Now that some of the wisdom from the past has been handed back to me, I can move forward with a more confident step .  

Taking a page from my book...

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Strange Loss

Over a month ago, I mislaid my running  journal, only to realize about a week later that I had in fact completely lost it. Perhaps I mistakenly threw it out, or left it on a plane, or who knows where–I had been carrying it around like a ninny with the thought that I would blog-on-the-go and would need the numbers, and the memory jog (no pun intended) that it provides. It was only until I’d upended the entire apartment, searched through every pocket of every tote and rolling luggage, and scoured my office on hands and knees that I acknowledged that my running journal for 2010 had disappeared, and only through a miracle would it resurface. For five key months of training (Jnuary through May) in my running life, my workout summaries, with mileage, anciliary exercises (Pilates, etc), routes and most importantly, the uncharacteristically terse notations on my physical and emotional status for each run, were gone forever. The miles were still there, in my body, but that fact was small consolation.

The first time it hit me, I was angry and restless.  I couldn’t bear the thought of having lost my record of my training for London, of my Spring PRs, of the runs I’d taken with friends. Yes yes I’ve blogged about some of those workouts and god knows a race can’t go by with out me spilling a thousand words. But there is something powerful about the tangible record of my workouts, inked in black ink into an oblong  notebook, that cannot be replicated by Garmin Connect or even this blog. Flicking through the pages, seeing week after week of effort, ticking off the percentage increase in weekly mileage, I can remember at a glance the effort of a hill on a warm afternoon, or the gliding speed that graced me one morning.

You may scoff, you may chide, but I will still admit it: I have shed actual tears over this lost journal. I lived in hollow hope that it would turn up for a month, until finally I accepted that I needed to begin again, midstream, with a new notebook to log my workouts. People, I couldn’t handle finding such a notebook on my own, I was that upset. Truly, dear readers, I was crushed. I still am. Just last night I cleaned out the office, packaging all my memories from 2009 and 2010 into various plastic envelopes for archiving. I tucked my journals from 2008 and 2009 into their respective pouches, but when it came time to put my race bibs from the Run for Haiti, Soldier Field 10 Mile, and NYC Half Marathon into an envelope, I cried. I shed real, bitter tears. I worked so hard all those weeks, I vindicated my crappy 2009 with a determined and upbeat 2010, but the three-word evidences of that was gone forever. I’d no longer be able to recognize what day I ran through fog, which day I broke the virgin snow with my Nikes, or which evening I swooped home over the 59th Street Bridge like Batman. My small notes on when I wore my racing flats, was so excited by the early arrival of sunshine for the first time this year, or was accompanied by a dear friend are all gone forever. As a runner, I train for speed and endurance. But as a human, I run for the minutia. I want to remember the moment I turned a corner and spread my arms like a plane, or the first day of the year I sauntered forth in shorts. Were these 9:30’s easier than the 9:30’s of two months ago? Now, I’ll never know.

Last week I filled out the first five days of running in my new training log. My friend Phil kindly sent me a log, after a desperate tweet I sent out. I’ve had this feeling before. You know, the one where you have no other choice but to build a relationship with what is at hand. It was bittersweet. I immediately recognized the beauty and helpfulness of having my Saturday long run being the last weekly entry in the journal (my old journal went Monday thru Sunday), and welcomed the shift it gave to my mental approach to a training week. But, it felt like I was stacking these building blocks upon sand, rather than the granite of the workouts I’d executed over the prior six months. June 27, 2010 through July 3, 2010 is all out of context, and it always will be. Making matters worse, it won’t be until August that I can properly write up a Math Class post, since I won’t have comparatives in training until then.

Like any death in the family, we get over it in time and move on. Our lives seal themselves around the loss like white blood cells around a germ, and before we know it what is currently available is as familiar and right as what we loved before. Perhaps I am being a bit grandiose and melodramatic about a lost running journal. but just ask Husband: he saw my tears, he watched me pull our closets and luggage apart three times in three weeks. I didn’t even look this hard when I lost the pearls my Nana gave me (in a move).

A New Beginning

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