Over the years, I've kept a list of where I've run (in addition to my mileage log).
First the miles - I first started keeping track of my mileage in the fall of 1978 (junior year of high school). In 1978 and 1979 I had only partial years of running. It was in the spring of 1979 that I started to run "full-time" (i.e. running throughout the year). 1980 was my first year of running most every day and constituted the first full year that mileage was tracked. That being said, since 1978, I've run about 73,500 miles (I expect to go over 75,000 sometime this fall). For the 29 full years, my highest year was 3,241 miles in 1982 and my lowest was last year's dismal 1,271 (of course I missed 119 days of running due to my knee injury). So, for those 29 full years, it average out to be 2,487 miles per year (6.81 per day, 47.83 per week and 207.25 per year). [Probably about time for a lube and oil change don't ya think :-) ] I think a worthy lifetime goal will be to stay healthy enough and enjoy the sport for long enough to get above and beyond the 100K boundary.
Now, where have logged all these miles: Well, how about 194 cities in 35 states. In addition, there have been another 12 cities in 9 foreign countries and U.S. Territories. All those miles have led to some memorable runs. It's impossible to call out one single run as the best - so, I'll try to select a few of the best of the best:
Arusha, Tanzania - running under the watchful eye of Mount Kilimanjaro in the African countryside was a recreational, cultural and social highlight.
Pebble Creek Trail, Yellowstone National Park - with a combination of open meadows, timber mountainside and multiple stream crossings it's a fantastic back country trail run. I last did this run with Kelly Fulton, Dave Coppock, Alan King, Jarred Rensvold and Zach Hunter in the fall of 2007 and it was one of my favorite running days of the last several years.
Boston, Massachusetts - Boston Marathon 2004 - The raucous crowds, the elite fields, the history, the atmosphere - hard to top Boston as a racing experience.
Eugene, Oregon - racing on the fabled Hayward Field track in 2000 was almost a religious experience. I'm almost certain that I could hear the footfalls of Steve Prefontaine and the chants of Go Pre!
Butte, Montana - the hills behind Montana Tech may not be the prettiest spot. But the rollies, Billy's course, the S-curves and heartbreak are the places that, in large part, shaped me into the runner that I am today. Combine the altitude with the never ending series of climbs and you have a training location that can bring out your best. I'll forever have a sweet spot in my soul for these hallowed grounds.
Absoraka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana and Wyoming - if you want a great combination of high altitude, great trails, stunning vistas and spectacular wildflower displays, you need to hit the Beartooths. The run from Lake Fork of Rock Creek to the West Fork over Sundance Pass is a can't miss. It's long, it's got hellacious climbs and the air is so thin it's almost non-existent. But, the wildflowers near the top of Lake Fork are amazing, seeing Mountain Goats on the "top of the world" at Sundance Pass is uber cool and soaking your legs in the cool water's at the end of the run (with a couple of brews preferably) make it all worthwhile. Hook up with a couple of your favorite running pals; and, it really doesn't get much better.
Canon Beach, Oregon - hit the beach at low tide on a misty morning with low clouds. With the amazing rock formations playing hide and seek in the fog, it's a mystical experience.
Washington, D.C. - it has it all. Urban Trails, the C&O canal, Rock Creek park - and the topper of all toppers - running along the mall and around the monuments of our Nation's Capital. How can you help but be inspired when running with the memories of Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, the war veterans and the victims of the holocaust. The first time running through the mall was almost overwhelming.
I'd love to hear from anyone else where some of their favorite places have been. Write in and let me know.
Next up will be some of my favorite and most memorable races.
The Muddy Buzzard.