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Dave Griffin On Running: The Pages of Another Year Gone By

Dave Griffin On Running
The Pages of Another Year Gone By

I'm probably not the only one who looks back this time of year, reflecting on another year gone by. For me, looking back means pulling out my old running logs. There, I read an autobiography of sorts, where events of my life can be found.
The entries on the pages are much of what you'd expect. There are distances and times, but there are also simple notes that remind me of moments from my past.
On the day my wife and I were married, I ran five miles in the morning to pass the time and stay relaxed. I ran 9 miles during the blizzard of 1983. People shoveling their driveways shook their heads as I passed, but I had the road to myself. In 1994 I ran for the first time with my oldest child, a short loop around the neighborhood that began a whole new era in my running life.
All of my workouts, the weekend long runs and the mid-week track work, are documented. Some of the workouts I did are hard to imagine now, as if I'm somehow detached from my younger self. In the spring of 1983 those workouts gave me a resting heart rate of 31 beats per minute and a VO2-max of 74.1. Many of my best races followed.
Flipping through the pages helps me remember things long forgotten and mostly underappreciated, until now.
The notes about the pain in my knee began several years ago and continue through November of 2006, when any entry simply says, "its time to give the knee a rest." My knee has been stubborn, and that rest has lasted over a year now. As I flipped through the empty pages of 2007, I had to put the logs aside
What happens after the reflection is inevitable. Turning away from the past always points you toward the future.
I wish that I could simply be the author of the pages yet to be written. Running would be a part of every day. I'd rediscover things I miss, running far and fast on familiar routes. I'd race again, challenging runners much younger than myself. I'd pull away in the final mile and savor every stride. It may be wishful thinking, but that's what dreams are for.
For today, I'll settle for simply putting on my running shoes and stepping outside. I'll shuffle up my drive until the stiffness gives way, and run. It may be short and slow and sluggish, but it will be a start.
Running has taught me that the past, present and future are inseparable. Any given day only presents the promise earned yesterday.
A year from now, I'll look back on my running logs again. I'll appreciate the days of my past, the achievement and the blessings. And, when I get to the pages of 2008, I'm not sure exactly what I'll read, but I do know one thing. The pages won't be empty.

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at

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