My Year of Not Running

Last week marked one year since I’ve really been able to run.  The anniversary of my injury in Milwaukee’s Lakefront Marathon kind of snuck up on me, but when I realized it had been a full year I thought I should look back.  And what did I do this past year?  Well, according to my training log, I:

Biked 148 hours (about 2,400 miles),

Walked for 59 hours,

Swam 90 hours (jumping in the water 107 times),

Did 16 hours of “cardio” workouts like elliptical, rowing machine, etc.,

Went to the weight room 63 times (I’ll call that 40 hours),

And last, but definitely not least, over the last 2 months, I’ve run 15 times for a total of, coincidentally, 26 miles.

That puts my total number of workout hours for the year at 353.  Not bad, I figure, considering I wasn’t able to do anything for 2 weeks after the marathon and was on crutches for 6 weeks after surgery.

But I’ve never really kept track of my total hours of workouts before.  So for comparison’s sake, I went back a few years to when I had pretty much uninterrupted training, did a triathlon, peaked at 91 miles in a week, and got myself in shape to run 2:51 in the Chicago marathon.  My totals for that year were:

2,698 miles of running (I’ll call that 315 hours),

56 hours of biking (900 miles total), and

8 hours of swimming.

That’s a grand total of 379 hours, just slightly more than this past year.  Of course, I was in better shape that year, running shape at least, and was working harder as running is, per minute, typically harder than biking and walking, which made up the bulk of my rehab workouts.

But what do these numbers mean and what have I learned in this past year?  I honestly don’t know.  It seems like I should have gained some insight into my questions about why I run, whether of not it’s worth the time and energy, what the point of it all is, but I don’t think I have.  I’ve written about a few of the things I love about running, about a few of my reservations, but none of this was new.  For much of my life (foolishly, I suppose) I’ve seen the world as split into two distinct types:  runners and non-runners.  When I was young,I was more fascinated with runners.  But as time has gone on, I’ve become more fascinated with non-runners.  How do they do it?  How do they get through their lives?  How do people know who they really are if not from the knowledge and experiences gained from pushing all their weight across the earth propelled by nothing but their own bodies?  Not having run for a whole year, I’m surprised I don’t know the answer to this.  But I’ve probably spent too much time thinking about running to have gained any insight into my questions.  Maybe if I’d stopped thinking about it altogether, I’d understand it better.  But as it is, as it’s always been, I just want to run.

So I sit here today with a bunch of numbers, some unanswered questions, and a knee that is getting better but is still quite sore at times.  Still, my year of not running has been a good one.  Besides getting in the best swimming shape of my life and going chegan (that’s a vegan who occasionally cheats), I got married (woohoo!); traveled with some of the people I care most about to to Mexico, Sedona, Alaska, and Oxford (where my son is having a great year at Ole Miss); got to see my younger son run some great races before having his cross-country season cut short by mono (yes, that stinks); and much, much more.  No, I haven’t run, not a lot, but it’s been a good year.  I’ll take it.

And for anyone interested, here is a link to the video they made of my marathon “team” last year.  If it was my last marathon, it’s nice to have video evidence of the final miles…..http://