One time in college I was frustrated after a XC race. I was sitting alone on a curb after a meet near the hotel waiting for everyone to finish showering when my coach, Joan Nesbit Mabe, sat down next to me. Joan was an Olympic distance runner and had been on the running scene since she graduated from UNC- Chapel Hill. I remember turning to her and saying, “What can I do to get better?” She paused for a moment and said, “You’ve got to live and breath running. You’ve got to want it. You need to get a journal and write down your training- make yourself accountable. Follow your competition and figure out what times you need to qualify for NCAA’s…look at the lists (back then they were all on paper and mailed out every few weeks!)”
I took everything to heart, and followed it to a T as Joan was my idol as an athlete and a person. What really helped was my running journal which I started immediately in 1995 my junior year at UNC-Chapel Hill. Guess who has every single day of her running life since then written in a journal? Yep, 19 long years and 6 books will tell you I might be crazy. It comes in handy if I want to compare a workout, reflect on a season, or share with a new coach over the years. I usually keep it short and sweet with mileage, workouts, and how I felt for a run or workout. Often I write, “no sleep. Stomach bug from hell” or “strong and relaxed.”
The good races often have a smiley face. I usually don’t feel the need to add more detail as the good ones are usually etched in my mind. The bad ones are often just as short.”ran like shit. stupid.” or “calf pain.” Turn the page and start over. There’s always another week and another race. But, even after the bad ones, I will desperately search for a something positive to help me move on.
My latest journal that I started May of 2011 just ran out before the LA Marathon. Literally Sunday, race day, was the last space on the last page. The irony is kind of scary since LA was a pivotal race for me. The other day I went out and bought a replacement journal. On the front I wrote March of 2015- and left the end date open. I am looking forward to filling these pages one week at a time.
A cool journal and great gift here:)