I completed my "Run for 100 Days" goal today. A brief reflection cross-posted from 43Things.com follows.
Sunday 22 July 2007
59:43 for six miles. This is actually only the third time I’ve come in at under an hour for six miles.
My fastest time to date for six miles: 58:31
My slowest time to date for six miles: 1:09:00
This goal was originally “Run for 100 Days.” I have completed that goal. Rather than mark it “complete” and replace it with another goal on my 43Things list, I think I shall simply edit it to read, “Run for 200 Days.”
I looked back through my entries, back to Day One, when this was a “run for 28 days” goal. When I started running, 100 running-days (and 9 months) ago, I managed to maintain a 10-minute mile pace for three miles. In 100 days of running, I’ve increased my distance, but I have not improved my speed at all. In fact, most of the time I’m running slower than I was when I started this project, when I was starting from a fitness level of zero! That is highly discouraging! I have achieved no performance improvement in 100 days. I mean, isn’t that an obvious sign that this task is pointless?
So what, if anything, am I hoping to achieve by running? What is the point to the effort? Perhaps, if I am going to keep at it, I need to formalize some more precise goals, beyond just “getting out there.” What’s the point in “getting out there” if it doesn’t accomplish anything? I mean, I can’t exactly say that I find running “fun.”
I haven’t lost a single, pound, either. Not one. I am at the same weight I was when I started this project. From a weight-loss perspective, I can say that for me, running makes not one iota of difference. Additionally, I can’t say that I’ve noticed much (any) improvement in my cardiovascular endurance. Flat surfaces are no problem, but seriously, a set of stairs leaves me winded. I mean, one flight of stairs leaves me breathing heavily. Two flights and I’m gasping like a dying fish and sweating like some kind of greasy, sweaty sweating thing.
Here are some positives, for what they’re worth:
1. At least I haven’t gained weight!
2. My legs don’t get stiff anymore after running. For the first few months of this, my muscles would stiffen up to the point where I could barely hobble around. I rarely have that problem now; when I do, it’s mild, and occurs after I’ve slacked off for several days.
3. I’ve managed to run for 100 days without joint or foot problems. Some people have problems with their knees, ankles, hips, or feet when they run. Although I’ve had occasional muscle stiffness, I’ve felt no joint aches or had no actual injuries. I credit this to having good shoes and paying attention to the mechanics of how I run. Maybe I've just been lucky.
So… do I keep it up for another hundred days? If so, what should my “sub-goals” for the next 100 days include?
1. Increase distance: 7 to 10 miles regularly.
2. Improve time: 9 minute to 9:30 pace consistently and comfortably. (A 4-hour marathon requires a steady 9:15 pace sustained for the entire 4 hours.)
3. Work some hills into my route. This will require extending my route unless I want to bike or drive to another starting point. If I have to “go somewhere” to run, I am far less likely to do it.
4. Use the bike odometer to measure out some alternate routes.
5. Complete 200 days by 31 December 2007. That’s five months from now, and will necessitate twenty running days a month, or roughly twice the frequency I have thus far achieved.
This goal was originally undertaken as a result of an Adidas running shoe promotion, the 28-day challenge. I purchased two pairs of Adidas running shoes, the Adidas Supernova Cushion trainer and the Adidas Supernova Trail. I have completed the majority of the past 100 days of running in the Supernova Cushion shoes. They’re starting to show considerable wear, particularly around the inside edge of the heel pocket. I don’t know what the life expectancy of “quality” running shoes should be, but if they’re worn out after 100 outings, that means each time I run is costing me about ninety cents! That means I’d have to pick up 18 cans and bottles to pay for each run! I usually only bring back two or three. At that rate, I’m gonna have to coax 600 runs out of the shoes to break even! Of course, once they’re no longer suitable for running, I can use ‘em for yard work and bumming around. At the very least, I’m going to try to get another 100 jaunts out of the Cushions.
I’ve only worn the brightly-colored Supernova Trail shoes a handful of times, in particular when hiking out over rocky terrain, like Kaena Point on the northwest tip of Oahu. They offer excellent support and a fairly rigid sole with good traction on rough surfaces. Maybe I’ll wear them for the “hill runs” I’m so ambitiously planning.
Anyway, there you have it: a brief reflection on running for 100 days. Not 100 consecutive days, not by a long-shot. Perhaps I can complete the second hundred days in less time.