Running and New Year’s Resolutions

OK. I’ll admit it. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions — or for that matter setting major career or life goals. Maybe it has something to do with living in the heartland rather than in the power alleys of New York or DC. But I do set one goal for myself each year. And it involves running.

I aim to run at least 1,000 miles a year. And in the past quarter century I’ve only missed once as best I can tell. It happened eight years ago when I tore my calf muscle post-Labor Day playing senior men’s tennis. Sigh.

I know that because I checked the runner’s log and calendar that I’ve kept every day for more than 25 years. For most of that time I’ve used “The Complete Runner’s Day-By-Day Log And Calendar” — now written by Marty Jerome, who took over the calendar following the death of his father, John, in 2002. John Jerome took over in 1985 from another runner, Jim Fixx.

So on any given day I can tell where I’ve run and when and for how far. I have notes about the weather and who I’ve run with, if anyone. And I know what I was doing on what for me are memorable days: when my daughter had knee surgery while she was in high school (treadmill) and on the day my son was born (four miles with a local high school track team) and so on.

And I suppose that this compulsive note taking and record keeping really isn’t as important as how I’ve spent at least some of my time during the past 25 years. As I’ve opined on many occasions here, I enjoy both the physical and mental benefits of running. It’s always been a time when I could relax, recharge and refresh myself. Today it’s my time “off the grid” — alone in the dark and enveloped in silence. Not a bad way to start most days.

Anyway, I expect I’ll run for the final time in 2009 early a.m. Thursday morning — giving me just slightly more than 1,300 miles for the year. And I can see from my daily logs and notations that I am actually running more now — but more slowly and almost always alone. I guess I could resolve to do something about those last two points in 2010. But nah — it ain’t going to happen. If nothing else, resolutions need to be grounded in some form of reality.

So I’ll just try to keep at it — hitting the concrete or chasing the treadmill belt as often as I can and for as long as I can next year and in the years thereafter. And with running — as with everything else — I’ll just try to keep doing the best I can.

Hey. That’s not such a bad resolution.

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