Spradlin: Heading into 2015, I’m looking for yellow

The year that, in so far as running, wasn’t

I have an Excel spreadsheet on which I  keep my top three times from a wide range of distances, from 800 meters to 50 miles. Yes, those are distances covered on two feet.

A teammate snapped this photo two Septembers ago while running for Garrett College in western Maryland.

A teammate snapped this photo two Septembers ago while running for Garrett College in western Maryland.

Each year about this time, I highlight in yellow the times from the current year and use it as motivation for the following year, and as a guide in setting the following year’s race schedule. With less than a full day of 2014 remaining, though, I’m rather at a loss. I don’t know how to plan for 2015.

There is no yellow on the chart.

Two autumns ago, I logged 1,242 miles and finished the season as the No. 1 runner on a community college cross country team in western Maryland. One autumn ago, I was in perhaps the best shape of my long distance running life. Though I didn’t hit my goal time in my goal race, the training cycle was amazing. One bad day didn’t detract in the slightest from a five-month period in which some three dozen people played roles in me reaching new levels in running. For all of 2014, I tallied 1,619 miles.

Nothing like that happened in 2014. Not even close. As last year went so well in running — a passion of mine — I’d planned this year to be more of the same, or even better, building on the prior year’s successes. I’ve logged only 510 miles this year, my lowest total since 2003. I ran in 11 of 12 months, but in six of those 11 months, the mileage capped out at 17.75 miles (and in three of those six, fewer than nine miles were logged).

In February 2013, I finished the Hobo's Heartbreaker 10K in fourth place and averaged 7:08 per mile.

In February 2013, I finished the Hobo’s Heartbreaker 10K in fourth place and averaged 7:08 per mile.

Further, I didn’t finish a single race in 2014, and I started only two. In 2013, I finished dozens — and even won a 10-miler.

Of course, 2014 brought as much change to my life as 2013. Last year, I left the classroom and moved from Maryland to North Carolina to start a new job. This year, I left that job and moved two blocks up the street to open up The Pee Dee Post. To say this career move has been time-consuming is a slight understatement.

Almost all of this change was by choice, but as any small business owner will understand, there was more to the business of running a business than I ever could have imagined.

As much as 2014 was my own doing, I’m hopeful — no, I’m planning — on rearranging some priorities in 2015. Hitchcock Creek is calling, and I can’t wait to make kayaking all of the creek and on to Diggs Tract, do a little camping and then kayak some more. Paddling is a fun diversion to other things and I’m hopeful that, in 2015, my children will get to love the creek as much as I do. I’d love to see them put down their iPods and Kindles for a while.

By this time every other year I can remember, I already have a tentative race schedule all planned out. That’s not the case. Other than a single event in Maryland that might or might not happen — and the reason to head north is to allow my daughter to celebrate her 13th birthday with her long-lost Maryland friends, and the race is a secondary event — I’ve got nothing.

Well, that’s not exactly true. Richmond County has a well-established running community, primarily through the Mangum Track Club. As the last few days have shown, there are some MTC members who don’t mind hanging with me at the back of the pack to log a few miles.

Whether in a race or through training runs, I’m hopeful to log a few miles. I won’t set high expectations but simply want to get back into the swing of things and rekindle my love for the sport of running. And if that doesn’t happen, there’s always paddling.

Kevin Spradlin is managing editor of The Pee Dee Post. He can be reached at 910-331-4130 or peedeepost@gmail.com.


Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, Military and Veterans, Opinion, Sports

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  • http://www.wheels4paws.org Pat Webb

    You have been busy Kevin, I for one started our organization (which happens to be my passion as well) Because I love animals and I love driving. You will never see me run. EVER…LOL

  • http://frutke.com/ Frutke

    For a 10K, 7:08 is not too shabby at all. Well done!
    Call me anytime you wanna do a run (i.e. float) together on the Hitchcock. The water level isn’t real reliable, but it’s easy to check at the put-in at Roberdell. I have access to a couple of canoes and an old, old kayak. It’d be fun to hangout sometime.

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