Monday, January 9, 2012

Getting my (Running) Life in Order

The text came in moments after my tweet went up. It read, “Get a life would you!” Ah, a father’s love. The tweet in question said: “Just spent 20 minutes in @officedepot flipping through day planners to find the perfect training log and finally settled on one. #runnerd.”

*Sigh* It’s a sad admission. But alas, it’s true.

First, some context. I spent a lot of my childhood fretting over binder tabs, folders, and organizing my Topps hockey cards by number and year. I even had those little white circle stickers that you could put over sheets of looseleaf when the binder rings ripped a hole in your paper so a third of your sheet hung out of the binder and crinkled up in your backpack....My palms are sweating just thinking about it. I'm not even going to mention the folders on my computer except to sum them up in one word: immaculate.

I digress....

For the past couple years, I’ve been using my free Runner’s World training log, and it’s served me fairly well. For those wondering, I keep an online training log as well, i.e, I don't completely live in the dark ages, or the early-90s.

But there’s something about holding all those miles and workouts in my hands. For big races, I like to pull it out of my bag and flip through the days, weeks, and months of sweat and ink that brought me to that moment. It somehow brings more gravity, more enormity, to the situation. It makes me believe. Somewhere lurking in those pages is the reason for the PR, the knowledge that I can kick the pace down at mile 20, start an 800m kick at the end of a 5K, or drop more than a minute off my 10-mile PR.

I’m also a big believer in quotes and printing out articles and neatly placing them between the pages of my training log, something I can’t do online.

So, with 2012 just a week old, I decided it was time for a more serious training log. And, dear readers, the day planner is made for this. But which one?

I strode with naive confidence down the bright white aisles of Office Depot and found the display marked “Calendars.” I skimmed the three shelves and quickly realized I’d gotten into more than I bargained for. I also discovered that I am incredibly particular. For those who already know me, zip it.

There were 8.5x11 sized calendars, 5x7, and pocket-sized. Ones with a page for each day, each week, each month; hard covers, soft covers; black, red, green, purple covers. Some were lined, others blocks of white space. And still more had the hours of each work day.

I stood there, mouth falling open, eyes trying to drink it all in. What did I really want?

As I started to thumb through each one, there were attributes that I liked in each but not one that had everything. I realized, that a true day planner would be too thick. I liked the weeks, but I wanted one that also had the full month at the beginning. The one with tabs for each month was nice too. I definitely didn't like having the hours on each day. I'd narrowed it to three, when I saw her.

I picked up the Day Minder Executive Weekly/Monthly Calendar.

This beauty features a one page monthly calendar at the front end of each month. Behind the monthly page, each seven day week gets a two-page spread with eight lines to fill in whatever is going on that day, and it doesn’t have the annoying hours on it, which, as I mentioned, I am not a fan of. Plus, each month and week comes with its own notes section so I can jot down goals for the month, a specific race, or general comments. In short, my OCD-self was in love.

Naturally I wasn’t thinking of cost. I mean, how can you put a price on getting (and keeping) your (running) life together? However, after I swiped my card, it hit me that the cashier said $26.24. I thought, Really? I just dropped almost $30 on a calendar?

When I got home and explained this to my wife, her friend piped in and said, “Money is no object for this. I mean, you have to live with this thing for a year. I support your decision.”

My face lit up. Someone who understands.

What do you think?


  1. Oh Brad, this is why I like you :) I do wish I was that dedicated and organized - my coach feels lucky if I fill in my online training log two weeks in a row.

  2. Recently discovered your blog, so I'm going through the delightful backlog. So I'm assuming a friend of yours already brought this to your attention in person...but...

    Can it be a coincidence that the price was "$26.2[4]"? Your shock seems to be in the final amount...not the marathon kismet.

    Anyway, I'm enjoying reading.

    -Chris (fellow RAGNARian)

    1. Chris, haha, I had heard that but as you said, I was blinded by the sticker shock and not the good karma. Thanks for reading!


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