Prior to last year, I hadn’t run much AT ALL since mid-2017 (pre-knee injury), and even back then I wasn’t at all consistent with it. Maybe a 10K every once and a while.
But over the past year or so, I’ve really found a consistency with it and have enjoyed running twice a week. It’s a good way to break up the walking days (especially since there’s only like two routes I walk anymore due to pandemic-driven fear of public transit) and it lets me get home faster when I’ve got a lot of work to do.
But one thing I’ve really noticed is that running outside is SO MUCH EASIER than running on a treadmill. I had been going to Anytime Fitness at start of 2020 and had been running about six of my 15 daily miles on the treadmill, but of course once COVID hit and the gyms shut down, I spent all my walking/running time outside. My outdoor runs started around 10K in April/May of last year and increased to 14 miles, which is now my consistent running distance. And it’s pretty easy. Some runs are a lot harder than others for various reasons, but in general 14 miles is a nice achievable distance for me.
But inside on a treadmill? There’s no way I could do 14 miles. As an example, the weather was supposed to be pretty cold and crappy here today, so rather than risk getting stuck in wet blowing snow, I decided to just use my treadmill and walk my distance instead of doing the usual walk 2 miles/run 14 miles that I typically do on Thursdays.
Well, I HATE skipping a run when I can avoid it, so about four miles into my treadmill walk, I turned off my Kindle and decided to run a few miles. I did a 10K and it was really, really hard to finish, haha. It’s probably a combination of how warm the house is compared to outside and the fact that you use slightly different muscles (or use them a different way at least) when on a treadmill than when running normally, but BLAH. It’s depressing that I can’t go as far inside as outside.
Anyway. Just complaining.
So as you may know from reading these blog posts, I’ve really gotten into running over the past year. Blame the pandemic, I guess.
Anyway, counting today, I’ve done a total of 110 runs since the beginning of 2020, so let’s see some stats, shall we?
Note: I am counting a “run” as an activity where all I did was run (no walking) and the distance is at least six miles. Just to give “run” a specific definition.
Here are some summary stats for distance (in miles), average heart rate (in bpm), and time/duration (in minutes):
Here is average heart rate plotted against distance:
Note: a lot of those sub-12-mile distances were early on in 2020, which may explain some of the higher heart rates. I wasn’t used to running yet. However, I’ve noticed that it takes me a good three miles to really get into a run – that is, to get to a point where my breathing calms down and my heart rate seems to slow down a bit. That is, I hit a “groove” that I seem to stay in for the rest of the run. So maybe on those shorter runs I spend more time getting into the groove than in the groove itself?
Here is distance plotted against “run,” which is just the nth run I’ve done since January 2020. For example, “1” represents the first run I did, while “50” represents the 50th run I did. Easy!
Observe the “screw it, let’s go from a 10k to a half marathon” jump around runs 20-23. I’m actually pretty consistent with doing 14 miles. The 18 the other day was an aberration; I don’t think I could consistently do 18 like I can do 14, but who knows. Maybe I could build up to it.
Here’s average heart rate plotted against “run”:
The slope coefficient is significantly less than zero, by the way (α = 0.05), so I guess there’s been a significant decrease in my heart rate as I’ve gone for more runs. Though distance is likely a confounding variable.
ANYWAY. Cool, huh? I’ll probably do more posts like this as I keep running. Lucky you.
I ran 18 miles today!
That’s the furthest I’ve ever run by about three miles.
I normally don’t run on the weekends because there are way more people out on the path, but my usual running day (this upcoming Monday) is supposed to be cold as hell, so I figured I’d try to run today instead.
It turns out that the weather was just right for running and there actually weren’t that many people out. I felt like I could easily keep going after I hit my usual 14 miles, so I just continued until I did an additional four.
Supa cool. Here’s the map!
Now I just have not do 18 every single time I run, haha.
Like, I get it. Some people need that “bare minimum” number to strive for due to whatever circumstances they’re dealing with. But should we really be lowering the bar from the “standard” 10,000 daily steps? People are way too inactive as is. I think anything we can do to encourage more activity is great, even if it means sticking with a somewhat arbitrary value that’s a bit higher than what some research is showing as the bare minimum to get health benefits.
Sorry, I just saw this article today and my mind immediately contrasted it with the “vigorous exercise” article a while back, even though walking and vigorous exercise are different things.
So Garmin has these little online challenge thingies that you can do through its app where you’re competing with other people for things like highest monthly step count, most monthly running miles, most miles cycled in a given amount of time, etc. Every once and a while I get in a challenge where someone gets accused of cheating and faking their data.
This week, that someone was me.
So a few things.
1) It should go without saying, but I do not fake my data. Anyone who knows me knows that my walking/running/steps are legit. I’m just putting that out there.
2) There are almost definitely people who fake their data in one way or another. It’s inevitable on something like this (even though the only real “reward” you get from winning these challenges is bragging rights I guess?). However, everyone else I’ve ever seen accused of cheating does not share their individual activities – only their totals (miles, steps, whatev). I share my activities. You can see every walk and run I log and you can even look at the map and see exactly where I went. That would be hard to fake unless I was giving someone else my Garmin and having them do the miles for me.
3) The amount of effort that would be required to fake this data is just not worth it, especially for as long as I’ve had my Garmin (fall 2018 I think?). It’s probably less effort to just do the actual steps, honestly.
I mean, I guess I could be flattered by the fact that people think I’m faking the amount of steps I’m taking, but it’s more annoying than anything.
Hey so LOOK HOW FREAKING COLD IT IS
It’s been like this for too many days in a row. It’s sunny, sure, but that makes it even worse because my brain’s like “lawl sun make warm. Go outside!” And then I go outside and my brain’s like “THE FUCK WRONG WITH YOU GO BACK IN GO BACK IN”
Anyway, 16 miles on the treadmill gets super tedious even with Kindle books, so I said SCREW IT and decided to walk to North Hill Mall and back to get my last three miles in today.
Got my mega gloves on, my mega jacket on, my scarf, and my headphones to cover my ears, and went outside. It was cold but it surprisingly wasn’t unmanageably cold (probably because the sun was out and I wasn’t walking directly into the wind). The sidewalks were also covered in compact snow which was too cold to be slippery, so I decided to just run to North Hill and see how that felt.
It wasn’t too bad.
My nose got really freaking cold on the way back because I was into the wind in that direction, but I had little hand warmers in my gloves which helped to protect my fingers and I ALWAYS produce a ton of body heat while running, so it was okay.
I don’t know if I’d want to run 14 miles in it (and my iPod would almost definitely not make it that far), but it was okay.
Interesting, but not surprising overall. What is surprising, at least to me, is the following: “there was no threshold where the effects of exercise stopped improving cardiovascular health, the study found.” Especially since other correlating variables such as smoking, drinking, and body weight were supposedly accounted for.
One thing to note though is that their “top 25%” of most active people were doing about 50 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity (like running). It would be interesting to see what their top 5% or top 1% were doing just to see what their “threshold” of vigorous activity was in their sample. Like, if the top 1% is only doing like 100 minutes of vigorous activity per week, how can they really conclude that there may not be a threshold above that level where the effects of exercise taper off or even reverse? Like, if you’re doing 300 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, you may not be represented in the study, and who’s to say what the effect of that level of exercise may be on cardiovascular health?
Anyway. Still interesting.
It was 10 degrees outside today but I WENT RUNNING ANYWAY.
Well, okay, I didn’t do my full running distance because I didn’t think my iPod could handle that amount of cold for that long. When I walk, I put my iPod in a protective insulated case and then put the case in a side pocket on my cold weather shorts that I wear beneath my cold weather pants, thus keeping the case next to my body to give it at least a little bit of body heat to keep it warm. But when I run, I can’t fit my iPod in its little protective insulated case AND fit it in my running pants’ pocket, so I either have to forego the case and hope that my body heat alone is enough to keep the iPod warm or I have to put it in the case and put the case in my running pack thingy, where it does not get to sit close to my skin and thus does not get any body heat.
BUT ANYWAY, 10 is pretty cold, so I figured both of those options were kind of iffy. So I did some of my distance on the treadmill and then did about 10 miles running outside. It was brr. Even with the massive amount of body heat I produce while running, it was brr.
But it’s good to know that I can run that far in that kind of cold weather, I guess.
So remember back on June 1st when I made that running total dynamic bar thing that compared how my yearly mileage totals accumulated for each year I’ve lived in Calgary? (This thing?)
Well, I updated it to include 2020 now.
I didn’t even really consider trying to beat 2017’s mileage until about half way through the year. Then it was a push to make it happen – which it did at the very start of November.
Happy New Year!
As always, January 1st is dedicated to reviewing last year’s walking mileage. So let’s get to it! But before we do, a quick disclaimer: I am including my running mileage in all of these totals, too, but I’m just going to refer to everything as walking mileage because it’s easier.
Here are my walking stats for January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
Total number of walks: 347
Total mileage: 5,160
Total number of steps: 11,687,919
Total calories burned: 355,903
Total walking time (minutes): 78,727.87 [that’s about 54.67 days]
Average speed (mph) per walk: 3.80
5,160 miles is approximately the great circle distance between Juneau, AK and Barcelona, Spain or between Naples, Italy and Cape Town, South Africa.
And for anyone who’s keeping track (probably no one), yes, this is a new yearly mileage record. I beat 2017’s record of 5,100 by 60 miles, which isn’t a fantastic jump in distance or anything, but it is a new record.
If you know me in real life, I probably have never struck you as someone who would ever say they loved running (especially if you knew me pre-Vancouver).
But I LOVE RUNNING.
I’m addicted to it now. I’d go 14-ish miles every day if I could. The only thing stopping me is the thought that I do NOT want to go through another injury, either with my knee or with something else. So I’ll stick with a few times a week with the 16-mile walks in between.
But holy freaking crap, running feels so good.
It’s felt even better these past few weeks. I don’t know if that’s my body finally just getting used to 14 running miles the same way it got used to 15/16 walking miles or if the colder weather is just that much easier for me to run in.
It’s so relaxing and so freeing and so empowering.
If any of my readers run and are looking for good running clothes, I’d suggest Baleaf. I bought a pair of running leggings from them and a running jacket/coat thingy and they’ve both become my favorite things to run in. The leggings actually stay up around my waist (my other pairs are all too big around the waist and the Baleaf ones are just tight enough to stay in place but aren’t too tight) and the jacket has zippable pockets to hold gloves/music player, little thumb holes in the sleeves, and has a small fleece lining which makes it good for running in the 20-25 degrees range.
I just surpassed 5,000 walking miles for the year, and I did it one day sooner than I did in 2007, the last (and only) time I hit 5,000 walking miles.
So for everyone who didn’t think I could do it again, take THAT!
I’m also going to likely beat 2007’s total mileage of 5,100, too.
Aloha. Let’s talk about my VO2 max.
According to this site, “VO2 max, also known as maximal oxygen uptake, is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise. It is a common measurement used to establish the aerobic endurance of an athlete prior to or during the course of training. It is one of several tests used to determine an athlete’s cardiovascular fitness and performance capacity.”
Typically, the more endurance sports/activities you do, you are more likely to have higher VO2 max scores. And of course, correlation does not equal causation, but there does tend to be, you know, correlation between these two things.
So what have my VO2 max scores been since the start of the year? Let’s see.
Ohhhh, okay. Random. Cool.
Note that there’s a break in the graph because I had to stitch together two different display screens from my Garmin app.
Of course, another disclaimer here is that I’m not getting my VO2 max professionally measured here; these readings are coming from my Garmin. But I would think any measurement error would be somewhat consistent across time, right?
I just find it weird that there seems to be no pattern whatsoever, and I bet if you looked at this you couldn’t be able to tell if I’d started seriously running at any point during the year and if I’d stopped seriously running at any point during the year.
(Serious 13+ mile runs twice a week started around the end of April I think; I have kept those up ever since, so there hasn’t been a stopping point.)
And like…I am very consistent with the type of exercise I do as well as the duration. It’s not like I’m doing dramatically different exercises on these days. I’m either a) running 14 miles or b) walking 16 miles. That’s basically it.
I also find it weird that I think my circulation has gotten worse since I started running, but that’s whatev.
Body, you’re strange.
Hey NERDS, so up until this point, I’ve walked 4,585.06 miles. At this same time in 2017 (my record walking year), I’d walked 4,573.77 miles. So that means (unless I royally screw up) I’m on pace to beat 2017’s distance of 5,100 miles.
(I live for this crap, sorry.)
So I was just in the process of typing up some nonsense blather for today’s blog post (because let’s face it, that’s most of what these posts are nowadays) when my vision started going. You know what that means…a migraine!
So I guess that’s what I’m goingt to blog about to day.
(I suspect I’m goingn to have to go back in here and correct a whole bunch of typiocs, considering I CAN’T SEE HALF THE DAMN SCREEN…or maybe I’ll leave ‘em in for that sweet, sweet authentic “blogging while having a migraine aura” experience.
Ya sure, let’s do that.)
These freaking auras are usually the worst part of my migraines, since there’s really nothing I can do about them but wait for them to pass, wich typically means sitting around with partial vision (someotmies no vision) for twenty to thirty minutes before it starts coming back.
But I guess I’m lucky, because a) the aura lets me know that the actual pain part of the migraine is coming, which allows me to take some Excedrin in time so that b), the actual pain part of the migraine isn’t too bad. I also never get light- or sound-sensitivity and only rarely get nausea, so as far as migraines go, mine aren’t too bad.
BUT HEY, I REALLY ENJOY BEING ABLE TO SEE.
A fun exercise: I just scrolled up a few pages to get a nice full page of text and took a screenshot, then put that screenshot into Paint and erased everything I couldn’t see when looking straight ahead at the page. Wanna see?
Supa fun! Right now I don’t have the dancing ring of color around the edge of that “no see” zone, but that always comes later.
(Edit: now I’ve got it! Right on schedule.)
So yhah. I’ve also got spagnetti going and who knows ifI’ll be able to competently drain it and put it on a plate rather than dump the whole thing on the ground. I certainly couldn’t see my Excedrin bottle eclear enough earlier to check if I needed to take one pill or two. I’m preety sure it’s two. I hope it is, ‘cause that’s what I took.
Edit from a few days later: lol, typos. I’m leaving them in.
So today was the warmest day in like a week and a half and I was SO SICK OF BEING INSIDE that I decided to try running in the snow.
By “snow” I mean the compact snow on the river trail. I’d walked on it yesterday once things warmed up a bit and I felt like it was something I could run on, so I got on my winter running clothes and went to try it out.
I have no idea how people can run on compact snow, because I certainly can’t. I don’t know if I push off harder with the balls of my feet than most people, but it was definitely very slippery and hard to get a good footing. So super frustrating.
Once I got to the first point in the trail where I could get back off (which was like 0.2 miles, haha), I crossed the street and went back to the other side of the road where there was just a sidewalk. This looked relatively clear, so rather than give up on running today entirely, I decided I’d go a few miles on the sidewalk to see if that was better.
And it was.
There were a few snowy/icy places where fartbags hadn’t shoveled, but it was much clearer than the path. So I ended up weaving up and down a bunch of the side roads and going back and forth on the main road until I got to my standard 14 miles. It wasn’t the most enjoyable of walks because of the ice/snow, but the temperature was actually a nice one for running and it definitely beat running on the treadmill.
Plus, it’s only supposed to get warmer this week, so hopefully the sidewalks (if not the trail) will be clearer by the time I run again on Thursday or Friday.
Edit: I have about six blisters on my toes and my quads hurt like hell. I definitely have a different stride and toe grip on the snow/ice than on regular pavement. Which is to be expected, I guess, but still. Ouch.
I got my stuff from the half marathon today! Check it out:
Super cool. The last official race I did was the Vancouver Sun Run back in 2011; we got a bib (obviously, since it was in person) and a t-shirt (which I gave to my mom), but we never got a super cool medal.
Let’s try the full marathon next year!
This was the one I really wanted to do in person back in May, but ALAS…
This was not my best run. For whatever reason my legs felt like they weighed like 80 pounds each, so I didn’t end up with a super great time. But it’s probably faster than I would have been able to do it back in May, anyway, so yeah.
Next year I’ll hopefully be able to do the actual factual marathon, and it would be super nice if I could do it in person rather than virtually.
I don’t have high hopes about that, though.
Today, I hit a huge walking milestone: since my first walk in Calgary on September 8, 2014, I have now walked a total of 24,901.46 miles. That is equivalent to the circumference of the earth at the equator!
As always, here are some stats:
- Total number of walks: 1,938
- Total steps: 56,171,859
- Total time spent walking: 383,048.87 minutes, or 6,384.15 hours, or 266.00 days
- Average walking distance (when averaged across the 1,938 walks): 12.849 miles
- Average walking distance (if I had spaced out the distance over every single day): 11.29 miles
So that’s pretty cool, eh?
Boxplot of walk distances by year:
Boxplot of walk distances by month:
Boxplot of walk distances by day of the week:
(As if anyone cares)
Let’s start another trip around the world tomorrow!
YAY, I did my virtual Bloomsday run today. After much deliberation about how many miles I should walk today (reasons for that will be explained tomorrow), I eventually decided on 10.7 miles (I know, I know – not my standard 15 or 16…again, that will be explained tomorrow). But then I decided that since it wasn’t too hot out (and kind of cloudy) that I might as well use the shortened mileage to do my Bloomsday run today. So I walked for a bit and then ran the 7.46 miles (12k) to represent the Bloomsday distance.
I actually didn’t even run on the river path (a first for me!). The path is usually a LOT busier on the weekends, especially in the middle of the day. So I just ran behind the hospital, back behind the Children’s Hospital, towards campus, and a little bit north of that. The route wasn’t super hilly, but it definitely wasn’t flat, so I think that inflated my time a bit. But hey…the Bloomsday route isn’t flat and I’m sure whenever I’m able to do the Calgary Marathon that that route won’t be completely flat either.
So yeah! I should be getting my Bloomsday shirt in October sometime.
So somehow I managed to shave three minutes off of my half marathon time today. Three minutes is a lot of time, especially considering that I’ve only been beating my record time by like 10 or 20 seconds at a time, and have only set new time records three or four times since I started consistently running 13.1+ miles at a time.
I have no idea why I was so much faster today. Maybe it was a combination of good running weather (~50 degrees, only very light wind, overcast) and new shoes…though both of those things held last Friday and I was nowhere near a record time.
Maybe it’s the smoke. Maybe I’m smoke-powered. I honestly wouldn’t discount that; my body is weird as all hell.
Also, my dad have to have hip replacement surgery today, but it sounds like it all went well. Yay!
So I want to try to get another 5,000+ miles this year, because nobody thinks I can do it.
I shall do it.
2017 was the year of exactly 5,100 miles, so let’s compare this year’s pace with 2017’s pace to see what I’d need to do to get to at least 5,000 miles this year.
Through August 15, 2017, I had gone 3,298.9 miles in the year (I was also like a week out from that stupid knee/leg injury thing that slowed me down so much but DID NOT PREVENT ME FROM REACHING MY MILEAGE GOAL HOHOHOHOHOHO)
Through August 15, 2020, I’ve gone 3,164.2 miles in the year.
That means I’m behind pace by 134.7 miles. BUT, like I said, in 2017 I actually had gone 5,100 miles instead of just 5,000. So discounting those last 100 miles puts me only 34.7 miles behind pace.
HOKAY, so let’s just focus on this year, then. 5000 minus 3164.2 gives me another 1,835.8 miles that I’ve got to walk this year. There are 19 weeks (plus a few extra days) left in the year. That breaks down to about 96 miles a week (discounting those last few days), or an average of about 16.1 miles per day six days a week for the rest of the year.
Could I do that?
I absolutely could.
So if I did exactly 16 miles six days a week for the next 19 weeks, that would get me an additional 1,824, which would leave me with an additional 11.8 miles to do over those last few days of the year. Usually I have troubles getting my full six days per week at the end of the year due to travel, but HAHAHAHA THAT’S NOT HAPPENING THIS YEAR, so this should be an issue.
I could totally do it again, guys.
I’m going to do it again.