half marathon, I was thinking of Roswell, New Mexico, which would have been a 1,000 mile round trip (fortunately, the Page Half Marathon was a much better option). That would have been more than a day of travel! Anyway, it is hard to imagine what 1,000 miles is because distance is so rudimentary to us now. We have no concept of it much like the old days. When you can dial someone up on your computer and then hello to someone that is on the other side of the world in a heart beat, that distance doesn’t feel so wide now does it? Just about everything we perceive this days numerically has been shifted and changed. When someone says they are a millionaire, it just doesn’t seem as impressive anymore considering being something more than a millionaire is more desired (for crying out loud, people that make 500K honestly think they are a middle class!). Getting 20 miles a gallon for your vehicle is the minimum that most will live with these days, especially when there was a time where just getting 10 was impressive. Heck for me, getting at least 30 on the highway is kind of a minimum standard for me (my old jalopy still gets some decent mileage in the city as well, which helps since the low fuel light seems to turn on all the time!).
Last year, I completed a rather interesting challenge that sort of came out of the blue, where I officially ran for 400 miles over the span of some 11 months. Now I beat the challenge with 100 days to go, which made me feel pretty awesome and impelled me to set a new standard for myself by running 600 miles in a calendar year starting on September 1. Well, at this time, with the entire summer to look forward to, I have hit over 90% of that goal. I should have that particular challenge done by the end of June at the latest. But by the time you see this blog article, you will know that I have already passed yet another unique milestone in my life….running for 1,000 miles! Now before I ever got a running app on my smart phone, I might have had another 100 miles or so, but I’m not gonna argue about such a silly little point. I ran 1,000 miles. To some people, that doesn’t seem too impressive, considering I follow some on the internet that log maybe 50 miles a week, which is a month of running for me. I get a little jealous, but I also have to remember I am doing a heck of a lot of olympic lifts that put the body through the ringer. Running 40-50 miles one week would just not be safe for me! But this is once again the unexpected appeal of being able to measure your life versus your old life. I don’t think I even ran 1,000 during the first first 36 years of my life!
You see, I was a bike kid growing up, and I always preferred walking due to the fact I was pretty good at traversing long distances with ease. I would walk to the Best Buy which was a good hour away just to look at DVDs and CDs, with no real plan in mind because there was a restlessness in my heart that couldn’t be tamed. In a lot of ways, that restlessness is starting to get a little antsy. While my running is still a little shaky due to some new issues that occasionally pop up, I’ve been walking a lot lately! My dogs are loving me once again, for now they come home and immediately plop themselves on the couch, tired from the four-mile excursion they had just gotten through. Rusty has especially been happy, because now he can rightfully reclaim the Santa Cruz River Walk as his domain since I am pretty much going down that way every day now. Personally, feel kind of bad for neglecting my old running path for so long. I have had so much history with it, that it seems perfect that I earned my 1,000th mile while running it. You can imagine how surprised I was when I first walked it and realized how nice it was. I mean, living on the south side of Tucson, we expect very little from the city government, so to have a nice walkway was a nice amenity. Then they added more walkway to it….twice! The new addition they made is especially awesome. The only downside of my path was the fact it didn’t connect to the main path that pretty much went along the I-10 freeway. It was kind of a lonely loop so to speak, but now if I ever wanted to take the challenge, I can run my own half marathon without having to drive anywhere! And another cool part is it connect to another path that can lead you to some of the toughest running in the city. Yeah, my path is not as cool as the one near Sabino Canyon or along the Rillito River, but man, it is brutal and worth the challenge! I think this is why so many bike riders are starting to use this part of the path!
My journey to a 1,000 miles hasn’t always been the smoothest. Heck, right now I am nursing a sore achilles. It wasn’t because I was going hard or anything, but because I’m trying to strengthen my body with a more difficult course. While I can get some great time at Reid Park, which is my speed track, I felt it was time to start re-utilizing some more challenging runs. You see, my biggest issue so far in my athletic life is trying to fix my running gait while also strengthening my calves and achilles. This is not going to happen if I keep running a runner friendly path. I have to start taking a tougher challenge to heart, meaning I need to take on my home course more often. I’ll admit, I am a little bothered by the average per mile times I am getting, but on the other hand, I am running in the heat of the late afternoon as opposed to the night. I’m not intentionally doing this to make myself look tough or anything, but once Ragnar Las Vegas rolls around in a few months, I will most likely be running two of my legs in the heat of day, especially since I am the final runner. Since I saw what I was capable of at Ragnar Del Sol, I have to prepare myself better for the weather in addition to the dips and dives a course will provide. Once again, I am harkening back to a declaration I made a couple months ago, one that focuses on getting out of my comfort zone and making more of an effort to try new paths. I’m looking to try the path at the Kino Sports Complex sometime soon, which is obviously the most lonely stretch of running lane ever conceived. The path is literally in the middle of a desert for miles on end, an incomplete vein waiting to be attached to the other ends. I wouldn’t be surprised if I see plenty of wild animals on this particular run! I’ve always wanted to see how far I can take it, for with no lights or much in regards to civilization, it will definitely be one of my more challenging runs. I’ve seen it along the side of the freeway for years, and I figure it might be high time to give it a try.
I will admit, running all these miles has not always been fun and games. Somedays I wish I could just focus on my running and say to heck with the working out aspect in my life. There are days where I want to run six or seven miles, or maybe even more, but my legs on my body might not be up for the challenge. Take Tuesday for example, for I had a pretty ambitious goal to run about nine miles! While it was still pretty sunny and warm, I wanted to give it a try. Well, I came nowhere close to that projection, topping out at just over five miles and walking the rest of the way home. My right leg’s achilles was inflamed to say the least, most likely due to the heavy deadlifting and the hang cleaning I was doing the previous day. When your warm-up weight has turned into most people’s max, you know the progress you are making in the gym is getting you someplace. While I failed on the dream of running nine miles, I still had a good measurement to look back on and be proud of. On Monday, I actually cleared 185 pounds on the hang clean. Two weeks before, I could barely get up to my shoulders. Now yes, I may have swung the bar a little too much, but actually getting the weight up and then front squatting it was pretty impressive in my book. While I may have tired myself out, at least I got it done!
Here is the thing that sets me apart from what I used to be before I started taking note of all the miles I have been running: I am much more likely to not skip out on something I desire when it come to a physical goal. Even though I was tired and my body needed a little more rest, I burned out an 80-minute workout. I did 100 squat push presses with 35-pound dumbbells, 100 chest presses with 55-pound dumbbells, 100 bent over rows with 53-pound kettles, 100 jumping jacks, crunches and mountain climbers. Oh, and I finished the night off a one-mile jaunt on the rower. Normally, most people would just call this a day, but not me. Today I started a new job, so my time was pretty much going to be at a premium and I wanted the 1,000 miles ASAP! So even after an 80-minute heart thumper in the gym, I went out for a little three-mile run. With the wind steadily blowing in my face and the heat being a little high, I churned out a three-mile run in a little over 28 minutes. And while I didn’t feel the accomplishment when I got home, I felt it a little more when I walked my dogs for a good three miles after. All along the walk way as my little pups reigned supreme over their annexed lands, I watched people struggling to run the home course. The look of dread in their face was probably what I used to look like back in the day. Hopefully I get to see some of these brave souls continue to on their course of good health. One thing that kind of got me going in my own running was seeing this rather big, overweight kid pretty much do his own running regimen from scratch. I don’t see him much anymore, but he at least runs his miles at a sub-10 minute pace and is much trimmer than when he first started. Hopefully someone will see me running along the path, in spite of my own thickness and take a little inspiration. I hope they think “Well if this big guy can beast it as hard as he does, why can’t I!” It’s the best thing I can do as I look forward to my next 1,000 miles.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.