I only write what I don’t care if the world reads. It’s sort of similar to a captain entering information in the captain’s log. Alas, I don’t have great sea battles and sunken treasure to write about, but an occasional anecdote does get entered if I’m feeling up to it. Check it out! Or don’t. I’m easy like that.

Latest Entry: Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mission Accomplished


Total Miles: 500
Running Time: 82 hours
Average Pace: 9.5-minute miles
Average Speed: 6.1 mph
Max Speed 16.0 mph
Calories Burned: 62,000
Average Hearth Rate: 163 bpm
Max Heart Rate: 192 bpm

Well, it wasn’t easy, but it’s done. A thousand miles would have been nicer, but even getting 500 was challenging enough. Not so much from the actual running, but for the making time for running. As you can see, the time was 82 hours. That’s two 40-hour work weeks consisting entirely of nothing but running. As well, there are many hours not counted (e.g., walking, resting). Yeah, exercise takes time. The recovery period also drains a good deal of time, especially after the longer runs. However, it divides up into under 15 minutes a day. That’s not a lot to ask for good health. If people have time for two hours of reality television shows a day, they have time to run 500 miles in a year (or maybe just 50 miles).

There was a point in November where a key decision was made. I had been procrastinating running for a few days and wanted to put it off a couple more. There was just a lot of stuff to do. But I really needed to run that day. Otherwise, I would have been too far behind. I had to decide what mattered most. The goal was important, so I got my shoes out and ran. It was dark. It was cold. But it was done. After that day, I finished about 75 miles in six weeks.

It’s not just running that this mindset applies to, but eating as well. Too many people say, “I’ll start the diet after…” The problem is that those ellipses are always filled with future events and holidays. It can’t start after Thanksgiving or after Christmas or New Year’s Eve or Easter or Groundhog Day; it has to start today. Personally, I feel that gorging shouldn’t ever be done—on any holiday or occasion. The whole desire for an overfilled stomach needs to be removed in order to begin eating responsibly. This isn’t to say one shouldn’t eat great foods. While I love trying tasty foods, I simply maintain small portions in order to avoid being hungry—and avoid being overstuffed as well. If the food choices are bountiful, I may end up just taking a spoonful or so. It just doesn’t make sense to eat more than the body requires. It’s like filling a gas tank way past full. Yeah, I suppose you could open the back window and fill up the rear seats and allow it to pour out over the freeway as you drive down 101, but really…it doesn’t seem wise or even safe.

Okay, I’ve gotten sidetracked. This is about running, not proper eating.

Over the year, my speed increased slightly. Mainly, it’s tough to improve the speeds when you keep increasing the distance. By now, I find 10-mile runs to be a good distance. It offers a good workout and burn, without the all-day recovery requirements. I still have to include longer runs. Even after 500 miles, a 20-mile run isn’t really doable. A half-marathon probably is. Maybe in 2010. Obviously, if I can’t complete a 20-mile run without resting, then there’s no use attempting a full marathon yet.

The “calories burned” is my favorite part, thanks to the Garmin GPS. While I realize it’s not 100% accurate, it’s a good barometer of what is being turned into fuel. I was thrilled when I passed 50,000 calories. That’s 1/20 of a million calories burned off in a year. Certainly, I do eat more after burning 2,000 calories on a run, but I don’t believe I replace the full amount. That would be a lot of extra eating.

Overall, the runs went very well. The winter runs are much easier, but I somehow like the hot summer runs more—plus, I can wear less weight in clothing (though perhaps I make up for it in packing water). The hill runs are funny. Sometimes, I find that even when I’m tired, I have extra energy in my legs for sprinting up hills. I don’t, however, find I have extra energy in my lungs and heart. No, they prefer not sprint up hills. They prefer nice even stretches of terrain. Heck, I’m betting they prefer not to run at all, and just to breathe the cool ocean air off the coast of Fiji.

So I think I’ve stayed healthy this year. I wouldn’t recommend 500 miles for everyone, but I would strongly recommend doing something more than nothing. Some people seem to scream for free health care, and whatever happens there will certainly have its pros and cons, but either way, America needs to find ways to reduce the dependency on doctors and hospitals. And one method starts no farther away than right outside your front door.

I would recommend you watch out for cars though; if not, you may need that healthcare much quicker than you thought.

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