Saturday, March 10, 2007

Working Harder? Working Smarter? Working Better

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Running, a recent Barnes and Noble purchase, has provided me with some interesting data.

1. A person can expect to burn between 100 and 150 calories when covering a mile on foot, whether it’s a 4 minute per mile sprint or a 20 minute per mile leisurely walk.

2. A pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories.

3. With each strike of a runner’s foot on asphalt the body has to absorb a shock equivalent to 3 times the runner’s body weight.

Basically, it’s a good news/bad news situation. Let us apply this math to my performance in today's Gate River Run.

1. This body burned between 950 and 1395 calories during the run.

2. That is the equivalent of 0.27 to 0.40 pounds of weight loss.

3. During the 9.3 mile run, my 40 year-old skeletal system had to bear the shock of 9,820,800 pounds of pressure.

So maybe running isn’t the shortest route to weight loss. It certainly isn’t the easiest. But this activity that was started as a way to reach our “fit by 40” goals has grown into something much bigger.

First it was the subscriptions to the running magazines, the GPS tracker, the heart rate monitors, the caffeine-infused energy gel packs, the custom-fitted running shoes, we were caught up in the hardware of the sport. Then it was the racing, with our pre and post race routines, our recruited groupies (thanks, MJ and Mom) and the growing stack of race t-shirts testifying our achievements.

But today I realized that it’s even bigger than that. The indefatigable throngs of all colors, sizes, shapes, religions and ages, racing through the streets toward a common destination - this is a metaphor too delicious to waste.

It’s not about my run. My time. My best. It’s about scanning the sidewalks for friendly faces. The high fives to the kids standing on the grass who seem to be itching to join the race. The octogenarian on her front lawn with a cowbell and a wave, cheering on the group as we pass. It’s about being there, with everyone else. We all share the same sun on our faces and the same wind on our skin. It’s the group dynamic. The being a part of something so much bigger than an individual.

With or without custom fitted shoes or special gel packs, aren’t we all headed somewhere together?


MJ said...

You've captured the way I feel about the experience too, even though I'm watching from the sidelines. The sound of the race--the silent perseverance of each person putting one foot in front of the other--is an experience in itself. I also enjoy the anticipation of timing everything just right--being in the right place with the camera, hopefully more than once, and catching everyone at their best. And you all look pleased after a race. Job well done at any pace.

Judabear said...

We can't tell you how much it means for you to be there, too! I hope LJ has been sufficiently bitten by the running bug that we can expect our expectant cheerleader at future races too!

LJ said...

"With each strike of a runner's foot on ashpalt the body has to abosorb a shock equivalent to 3 times the runner's body weight."
You sound like my knees.

I think it's funny that the colors, sizes, shapes, and religions of the indefatigable throngs are likely to change a number of times over the course of 15 kilometers.

I have caught the running bug, and I will be racing as often as possible, if only for the SWAG.

Judabear said...


LJ said...

Stuff We All Get. The t-shirts and medals not the blisters and chafing. You should watch more E! channel.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking I'd love to join you for a run across the Golden Gate Bridge - not sure if I could catch up to you though? (perhaps that will entice you to come out west again...)