Monday, August 01, 2011

2011 in 2011: Mid-Year Lessons Learned

At the beginning of the year I set out to run 2011 miles in 2011. I weighed 220 lbs and all of my clothes were feeling a little snug. I have now run 430 miles since January 1, 2011. That sounds like a lot of running and is probably about 430 miles more than most people reading this will have run, but it is 547 miles short of what I should have run were I on pace to reach 2011 miles by the end of the year.

There is very little possibility I will come close to reaching my goal of running 2011 miles this year. I could run 10 miles every single day until the end of the year and make it, but that is not going to happen. Maybe if I quit my job and focused on nothing but running I could, but I’m not going to do that, so I’ll just have to be content with this cold reality.

Not that 430 miles is all that shabby. For Brad’s wedding I wore a fancy belt that I haven’t worn in at least a year and my waist is two belt holes smaller since the last time I wore it. While not as great an accomplishment as, say, curing cancer, I’m pretty happy with myself. I try not to think that if I had kept up with my running I’d be four belt holes smaller, but if that were the case I’d have to buy all new belts and who really wants to do that?

There are a few lessons I’ve learned about myself these last few months of running and not running that I’d like to share with the handful of you that still read this blog.

I’ve found that the most difficult aspect of 2011 in 2011 is not the physical act of going out and running for about an hour, it is the ability to schedule a two hour block each day. I am not a morning person. As far back as the third grade I was getting up late and missing the 9 O’Clock bell at school. I’m better as an adult. I can manage to get to work on time, but there is very little chance that I’ll get up at 5 AM and go for a run. I’ve done it a few times this year, but far too few times.

I’m more of an afternoon runner, but again this gets into the whole scheduling thing. If you are going to plan to run every day after work, that means that there a lot of things that you are not going to be doing after work from happy hour, to seeing a movie, and even just staying late at the office and working. Giving up two hours each and every day to exercise is not an easy thing to do.

It is also difficult to keep up the momentum of running every day. My longest stretch of daily running is only 13 days. That totally sucks. Every day that I don’t run I fall 3-7 miles behind on my annual goal. When you are only running 5 miles per day, making up 5 miles for a missed day is really hard.

I also didn’t account for travel, sickness, injury, or general fatigue. I ran about 200 miles between the beginning of April and the middle of May. Then I hit a wall. Hard. Then I rubbed all the skin off my ankles swimming with fins that didn’t fit. After that I had an ear infection. And don’t forget, I was knocked about with E. coli for two weeks. I’ve only run a handful of times since hitting that wall, including 26 miles while in Saipan this week.

Looking forward I’m already planning for 2012 in 2012. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things once I get back to DC next week. Hopefully my travel schedule won’t be as hectic the next few months (I’ve been on the road 110 days so far this year) and I’ll be able to get back into a routine. So whatever I do in these next five months will prepare me next year, which is really what this whole health regimen is supposed to be about, staying active over the long term.

Oh, and no comment on going vegetarian by July. I just finished off a box of chicken nuggets from the Guam Airport Burger King.

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