(Some find this irritating and use their anger productively by running faster than their current physical limitations allow for farther than common sense dictates, injure themselves, begin eating Pop Tarts intravenously, gain 120 pounds, and tell other people that running is bad for them, when in reality, it’s listening to people who ingest more M & Ms in a minute than bad jumpers Kobe Bryant takes in the fourth quarter of a playoff game that’s bad for you.)
Occasionally, a semi-well-intended non-runner will semi-incredulously ask you why you punish yourself so. If you’re like me, and let’s be honest, you’re probably not, you shrug your shoulders and strike up a conversation with the three hippos gargling butter who tell you that running is bad for you. Since striking up conversations with hippos gargling butter, elephants snorting whip cream, rhinos injecting ranch dressing, or negative people who never exercise is bad for you, I decided to explore this clichéd, over-analyzed topic in the most refreshing way possible.
Why do I run?
|Dear Garmin, I love you! (I own this sun dial).|
I’m fascinated with them. I knew how to calculate batting average, earned run average, shooting percentage (26% by the way is Kobe Bryant’s shooting percentage in the last minute of playoff games with his team trailing by one possession for his career, yet he’s considered the “greatest closer of all time?”), heart attack rates of marathoners compared to the heart attack rate of those whose idea of exercise includes slurping crusted, dried ice cream from under the sofa while applauding Richard Simmons, and just about any other statistic before I knew how to do any of those things that were being measured.
I don’t run because I like running.
Sure, I enjoy physical activity, dripping in sweat, smelling like rubbing alcohol, and teetering on the verge of vomiting, but there are other ways of accomplishing those things. So why running?
Running is measurable.
I enjoy lifting weights for the same reason, but my muscles give in long before the feelings of complete exhaustion envelope my body. A good workout video—Insanity, for example—gives me the same feeling running gives me and the Insanity fitness test does measure progress, but it’s difficult to compare one person’s fitness test to someone else’s due to differences in technique. In addition, it’s not really communicable. Someone asks you how you’re progressing with your Insanity workout video and you reply, “I did 64 power jumps this morning,” and he replies, “huh,” smiles and tells you how bad running is for your knees. Running numbers, on the other hand, are simple. You run from here to there and tell me how long it took. Very easy to compare.
|What would Billy Shake think about running?|
Biking offers the same number simplicity, but so much depends on the bike. Swimming is good, but you spend too much time in the pool and once you reach a state of exhaustion, you drown. If you drown, you die. If you die, you can’t calculate pace.
Here are some numbers that probably won’t interest you, but it’s my blog and they interest me. They’re my PRs. I don’t limit PRs to actual races because I refuse to pay exorbitant race fees unless a race presents an difficult to attain goal or it's free. These PRs have all been set in the last 5 months. I’ve been running for 15 years (not continually; that would be a record).
- 3 miles – 23:37 (I’ve run three mile segments much faster than this during half marathons but that doesn’t count).
- 5-k – 24:37 (I ran back-to-back 5-ks faster than this time, but I needed those for my 10-k PR)
- 5 miles – 39:09 (On hills. One of my best efforts ever)
- 10-k – 48:02 (The best run of my life)
- 10 miles – 83:23
- Half Marathon – 1:49:55
- 20 miles – 2:59:04