The math of a mile…

 

Short and sweet this week.  A re-post of yesterday’s thought on my Contemplative Fitness Facebook page.

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The math of a mile…

The U.S. population is about 316 million people. Of those 316 million, approximately 240 million are between the ages of 12 and 65.

Of the 240 million people between 12 and 65, most possess the physical ability to walk or to run an uninterrupted mile. However, it is estimated that of those 240 million, only 34 million run or walk regularly. That leaves 206 million people who could benefit from a daily walk or run, but choose not to.

On average, for every mile walked or run, approximately 100 calories are burned. I know this will vary depending on the person, and the intensity of the walk or run, but 100 calories per mile is a good number for the sake of my argument.

If those remaining 204 million people who possess but don’t use the ability to walk or run 1 daily mile, did so for 33 days, AND made no other changes to their daily exercise or eating, each person would lose (approximately) one mathematical pound. That’s not a lot.

As a collective though, the U.S. would lose approximately 204 million pounds in that month’s time. That is a lot.

In a year’s time, without changing any other eating or exercise habits, if everyone who could walk or run one mile per day did so, individually they could lose 12 pounds. That’s tangible, if not impactful.

By the end of that year, our nation could lose nearly 2.5 billion pounds. That’s more than a lot. Again tangible, and impactful.

shoes

Imagine what effect this collective weight loss could have on our healthcare costs, on the prescriptions needed or not needed, on the moments enjoyed with family and friends, and on the mental health and personal confidence of all, let alone of us as a nation. 

I’m not trying to organize any kind of movement here.  I can scarcely organize myself.  I really do wonder though, what the country might be like one year from now if everyone who isn’t moving began moving — today.  Food for thought.  Be well… rc

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Please check back in two weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this by The Mooney Suzuki.  Enjoy…

Run And Done…

This is Part II of my intermittent series on running.  Part III may be in several weeks, or not for several months, we shall see.

I am currently on vacation in Colorado and Nebraska.  Please check back in early August.  Thank you.  

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Status Slow

Five years into becoming a regular runner, running is no longer a struggle for my body or my mind – but it’s not a joy either, it’s just something I do.  I admit that I do just enough to get by with my running, never seeking to improve.  The three of us; my mind, my body, and the road coexist in the same way that compatible roommates coexist.  There’s no love, but no animosity either.  We’re just near each other at times, and respectful to one another when we’re engaged.  When we’re away from each other, we don’t think too much about it.  It’s a clinical collaboration with little expression nor celebration.  By anyone’s definition, it’s just another marriage…

Her Vocation, My Vacation

My daughter, an aspiring archeologist, chose to spend time this year studying in Athens, Greece.  Makes sense – they have a lot of old things there which require study.  Shortly after her arrival in Athens, I decided I would travel there toward the end of her academic year, to exploit her knowledge and spend time allowing her to guide me through all which she had been studying.  Of that, she did an excellent job and I remain grateful for such a comprehensive tour.

I had recently completed the book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  In this book, the author writes briefly about his experience running in Athens.  Away from my gym and my bike, and with my inherent requirement for daily action, I decided ahead of time that each morning during my visit, I would run the streets of Athens – mixing in some push-ups and pull-ups when I could.  This would be enough, I thought, to satisfy my craving for physicality.

Base Of Operations

I had rented an apartment in Athens to use as a base of operations for my visit with my daughter.  The apartment was located in the district of Pangrati, a charming community known for its markets, tavernas, and central location to all the history which transpired a few thousand years back.  Pangrati is also home to the Panathinaiko stadium. In fact, the apartment I rented was located directly behind this historic stadium.  The running track at Panathinaiko stadium, my daughter explained to me, is open to the public from 6:00am – 10:00pm.   My daily fitness requirement now had a timely and proximate outlet, and I would never have to set foot on the treacherous streets of Athens.

I took my first run at Panathinaiko stadium on my second morning in Athens.  Like all my runs, I pushed only as hard as I needed to – enough to feel like I was working, but there was no runner’s high.  Prior to the run I did some push-ups and pull-ups on a fitness course set up at the top of the stadium.  This, I decided, would be my protocol while visiting my daughter.

Something unusual happened though, during my third morning run in Athens; I didn’t want the run it to be over the way I usually do as my end distance approached.  Partially inspired by the stadium I suppose, and partially due to my recent consistency with running, I began to feel strong on mile number three.  I began running faster, stronger, and I finally began to feel that floating sensation described in Part I of this series, 30 years after seeing the movie, The Jericho Mile. I chose to go an extra mile, then two. 

After my run I did another half-dozen sets of pull-ups and push-ups.  Then, leaving the stadium feeling completely energized, I sprinted along the straightaway connecting the stadium with my apartment.  The runner’s high had finally arrived in my psyche.  I arrived back at the apartment to enjoy coffee on the patio and a breakfast of fresh green beans and turkey slices drizzled with olive oil and a dash of pepper.  I felt like another god in the pantheon; Royeclese, god of running.

Panathinaiko stadium was the last place on Earth I expected to enjoy a morning run.  In truth, I had never expected to enjoy a morning run anywhere.  My morning run – any run, has always been something I just tolerated.  However, in this famous stadium – hallowed ground where athletic history has been made and celebrated, in the shadow of the Acropolis and adjacent to the Agora, I would feel the joy of running for the very first time.

The following morning I woke, and eagerly headed to the stadium to duplicate my first runner’s high.  Nope.  Not happening.  I didn’t struggle to run, but my three miles was completed with no joy, and no self-imposed extra credit at the end. It was run and done, as usual.  Running and I once again were simply coexisting.  ‘Sniff. 

The next day my daughter and I were off to the island of Mykonos.   What kind of running might I find there…?   Check back in a few weeks and see if there is more to this story there…  Be well.  rc

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I am currently on vacation in Colorado and Nebraska. Please check back in early August to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from Colin Hay, enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVL1aIgq3Kc&feature=related

Unfinished Business

This is Part I of an intermittent series I will be writing and intermingling with unrelated essays over the next few months.  Part II of this series may be in 2 weeks – or it may not be for 2 months. Only time will tell, and time is like a carnival mirror.  Stay tuned, and enjoy.

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Wake Up.  Move.

Nearly 3 years ago I gave my Jeep away in favor of being a bicycle commuter.  Roughly every 12 hours, six days per week, I have been on my bike peddling the hills of Fallbrook for 30+ minutes in each direction.  Later this week I will be merging my home and my fitness studio into a single location.  Once again I will be working from home and my bookend bicycle commutes will take their place in the story of my timeline. 

My morning ride, often before sunrise, has set the tone for my day, and been the calling into action of my body and my senses for 3 years.  Through the heat, the cold, the morning fog, rains, coyotes crossing my path, low flying owls, skunks blending into the blacktop, drivers texting and mismanaging their coffee as they fail to see me, I would become alert.  I became awakened though, from the exhilaration of climbing the hills, and feeling of the wind in my face riding them down. 

My new commute will simply be the act of stepping over Stroodle and trying not to spill coffee on him as I enter my studio each morning.  How will I call my senses into action now…?

Stroodle; the newest obsticle in my commute…

 The Jericho Mile

In the late 1970s a made for TV movie made an imprint on my fitness psyche that would last for decades.  To this day, The Jericho Mile, starring Peter Strauss, is one of the most inspirational movies I have seen with regard to athletic courage.  The Jericho Mile is the fictional tale of a man who was imprisoned for a murder he committed while trying to defend his stepsister from an abusive father.  While in prison, woven between several other story lines, Strauss’ character, Larry Murphy, spent most of his time in self-imposed isolation.  He would use that time to establish himself as a world class runner.  Impressed by his talent, prison officials even attempted to qualify him for the Olympics from behind bars.

In one scene, Murphy and a would-be running coach from the outside were discussing the feeling of a runner’s high.  They compared the experience of running to floating – running without feeling the ground beneath their feet.  I found that description simply poetic.  It left me wanting to experience it for myself.  Despite my blossoming passion for weightlifting, that floating analogy instantly made me a runner at heart.  The fact that I had never enjoyed running now had opposition.

After watching The Jericho Mile, at the age of 18, I felt I had to become a runner.  After my first week of running, I came to two conclusions; that running is both hard, and stupid.  I would not attempt to run regularly for another 25 years.  However, I really wanted to connect to that ideal of poetry from physicality – the floating thing.  Soon I began mentally mining that sensation from my weight training.  I began to view my strength training as analogous to anything poetic – and I still do.  That mind-set has served me well for 30+ years in the gym.  From that one scene in The Jericho Mile, I have developed an appreciation for the beauty and poetry that lies within all forms of challenging athletics. 

Running Men

My first exposure to the ideal of running came years before seeing The Jericho Mile.  In the early 1970s, my father, then a weight-conscious individual, took to running as a means of better health and weight control.  They called it jogging back then but that would soon change.  Jim Fixx’s book, The Complete Book Of Running, turned jogging into running, and running went from fad to fiber in the American fitness psyche.  In the late 1970s, you couldn’t throw a cat 50 feet without it hitting a copy of The Complete Book Of Running.

Around the same time my father began jogging, my brother, four years my senior, began competing for his high schools’ cross country team.  Suddenly, I was surrounded by running.  But I was a weightlifter.  Full biceps, a respectable bench press, and an obvious v-taper were my only agenda.  Running, I reasoned, was not consistent with my goals, and so it went for about 30 years.   Then, in my mid-40s, I became engaged to be married – to a woman who wanted to run a marathon.

If she was going to run a marathon, so would I.  That’s what a relationship is.  If she had chosen to become a cross-dressing Nazi sandwich maker, I too would have become a cross-dressing Nazi sandwich maker.  But she didn’t become a cross-dressing Nazi sandwich maker, she became a runner.  Shit.  Following my fiancée’s lead, in 2007 I began preparing for a marathon.  Over the course of a year or so, I trained for and completed the 26.2 mile event which most runners consider the supreme accomplishment within their sport.  Through it all though, I never considered myself a runner, and the so-called runner’s high had eluded me.  I never floated when I ran.  I had run many races in preparation for my marathon including 5Ks, 10Ks, and a half-marathon, but I never felt as though I was a runner – not in the spiritual sense.

I am a hoarder of fitness values.  That is, once I attain a new physical ability, I won’t let it go.  I simply add new values to my physical repertoire and expand it over time.  Through the mid-2000s I had worked hard attain the ability to run and did not want to let it go.  After my first marathon I kept running mixed into my fitness fold, and I have been running ever since.  Despite my cycling, strength training, hiking, stretching, and other conditioning activities, I still make time to run each week.  Running is something I continue to do because I feel I should.  After all, fitness is what I do for a living, and running is synonymous with fitness, yes…? 

Next Up, Floating…

With my bicycle commute not longer needed to start my day, I have decided to run each morning prior to starting my workday — in quest of floating.  I now seek to become a runner in the spiritual sense.  This process will begin later this week, and I will be writing about it intermittently over the next few months.  Whether I ever float or experience a runner’s I high, I won’t predict.  I will though, remain committed to my early morning run come rain, shine, or tonsillitis, as I did with my bike.  Be well.  rc

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Please check back in 2 weeks to see happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender inside my head.  Oh, and there is this from Mike Stinson, formerly of The Replacments.  Enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNJFUomPtfY&feature=g-all-u