It’s probably pretty telling that my last post was titled “how to run when running isn’t fun any more” and it was 50 days ago.
I was doing pretty good for awhile holding it at that 3-mile a day every day baseline. But, even so, in that time I’ve realized that slowly over this time that my physical conditioning has decreased to the point that
- … I am not longer capable of running a half-marathon on a whim (I have not run more than 5 miles at a time in over a month, more than 8 miles at a time in over 4 months)
- … A sub-9-minute mile has become less and less comfortable possible
- … Activities that aren’t vigorous (e.g. yoga, walking) have increasingly become acceptable substitutes for my 30-minutes-every-day rule.
- … I question how I ever got myself to exercise after 2 p.m. If I don’t do it in the morning, it doesn’t happen.
I’ve got my reasons and I’m not giving any excuses. I’m working on a side project right now. When I’m ready to announce it, it will all make sense, but in the mean time … it had been 50 frickin’ days. I needed to post something.
Other things that are pretty telling: I have two drafts in this 50-day-void that talk about “how to run when you feel like crap” and “how I forgot to run on vacation.”
In a way, I do feel like I’ve come out of the other side of my metamorphosis. I’m not the svelte 27-year-old who ran two marathons back-to-back last year and couldn’t leave a dressing room without loving every single thing she put on. I’m not even the person who did a triathlon 8 weeks ago.
What changed? That’s the topic for another, possibly a series of many other posts. But I still exercise every day, and I like to think that even if by many other metrics I’m not much better off now than where I started in 2010, I will never stop running (unless something made me).
The Well blog recently wrote about a study that found that, despite a terrible, awful diet and sedentary lifestyle, exercising vigorously every day will improve your health. Period.
After only a week, the young men who had not exercised displayed a significant and unhealthy decline in their blood sugar control, and, equally worrying, their biopsied fat cells seemed to have developed a malicious streak. Those cells, examined using sophisticated genetic testing techniques, were now overexpressing various genes that may contribute to unhealthy metabolic changes and underexpressing other genes potentially important for a well-functioning metabolism.
But the volunteers who had exercised once a day, despite comparable energy surpluses, were not similarly afflicted. Their blood sugar control remained robust, and their fat cells exhibited far fewer of the potentially undesirable alterations in gene expression than among the sedentary men.
Running makes me happier, healthier, and less stressed — even if I have to force myself to think these things as I cram into thermal tights and brave the bone-chilling temperatures and slush.