September 28, 2023

It’s said by some that New Year’s resolutions are out the door by the third or fourth week of January because life starts to happen. This year one could almost mark the time with that. In Oklahoma, we had a big winter storm, and then the week after, we had huge breaking news in Oklahoma City with a massive fire on the city’s northwest side.

For somebody who works in a newsroom as I do, these are the events throughout the year that help keep time. However, outside the newsroom, I have kept my primary resolution, which is to walk (or run) 500 miles in 2022. To do that, I’d need to move at least 41.67 miles per month or 1.37 miles per day.

How did I do for January? How about 47.247 miles for the month, a pace of almost 567 miles for the year.

My first couple of weeks were super consistent; my last two less so. However, what is starting to happen is that I’m getting back into the weekend long-run. I’m 50/50 as to whether these are training runs for the April ‘Redbud Classic’ and Oklahoma City Memorial (Half) Marathon, however.

I’ve run the latter three times, finishing in under 3:00:00 each time. My first year, I ran a 43:00 5K. I’ve never run the Redbud but was on its board of directors for four years.

I should make something pretty clear. I’m slow. And now that I’ve crossed 50 (+1 … almost +2), I’m getting slower. What would be your jog is more like my run. At my peak, I could do an under-12:00 mile. However, I’m aiming for 15:00 per mile for now, in what is mostly a run-walk expedition for me. If I get to 12:00 again, awesome. If I don’t, who gives a ****.

What I love about running: Getting outside, looking at the scenery or neighborhood, listening to tunes that feed my soul or make me dance. And make no mistake, I don’t as much ‘run’ as I ‘dance forward’ in what looks like an awkward-guy-on-a-dance-floor-doing-the-Running-Man type of saunter.

I love the gear, too. The shades, the bicycle shorts, the Brooks shoes, my old caps, the Nuun drink tablets, the Gu energy packs. I love being alone with my thoughts, a man on a mission.

Much of the time I just run in my neighborhood, but I love going to the lake or maybe downtown, eventually, once our newsroom moves downtown (which it is). I run on a treadmill when I have to, but it doesn’t feed the soul like an outdoor run. One of my favorite runs of all time, which I wrote about in 2017, was in Buckeye, Arizona. My wife (then girlfriend) and I were visiting friends there, and I went for a run.

Arizona in March felt like Mars to me. The sun shone brighter. The grass was non-existent. The skies were bluer. It was eerily quiet outside, too, in the middle of the day. Heaven.

For runners, those are the types of memories a great experience conjure.

My favorite half-marathon in Oklahoma City was the one I feared the most, the second one I ran. It was 39 degrees outside and sleeting by the end of the race, and it felt amazing. Who KNEW?

I could go on, but what I wanted to share today was that I ran 5 miles for the first time since July 7, 2018. In the past three years and seven months, I believe I had run 3+ miles maybe a half-dozen times. Maybe. The reason I decided to run five today was because I had run four last weekend, and that seemed like a proper level-up if I intend on running Redbud or the OKC half.

So, what does a 5-mile run feel like after 3.5-plus years?

Slower but the same. It’s funny. The first mile is really achy on the feet, and the cardiovascular system isn’t really wanting to cooperate. My heart and lungs are like, “What is this crap?” However — and I don’t know if this is the same for you — by Mile 2 and 3, it’s all copacetic. In fact, my Mile 2 and 3 are faster with longer strides than Mile 1.

It was even tempting to extend the run today to six or seven miles. However, I had a video call I needed to be on at 11 a.m., so I needed to be back home and showered. I’m off work today, fwiw, so I’m being pretty casual with my schedule today, as one is wont to do on the weekend.

What I don’t do is over-push myself in terms of speed or stride. I’ve always been slow. I was slow as a child, slow as a young adult and slow now. The quality that makes running viable and enjoyable for me though is that I take to longer runs pretty well. A 6-8 mile run in ideal weather is a treat for me, and I think does my body better than faster, shorter runs.

I get it. Intervals are great. I try them periodically, running all-out for 1:00 on a treadmill, and then walking for the other minute. My speed during these runs is slowed some by the fact that when my body feels like it needs to walk, I walk – and I don’t apologize for it. Heck, it was when I found out that lots of people run-walk that I got into running, so salute to you kings and queens.

What defines great weather? For running, mid-to-upper 40s to upper 50s is perfect, especially if there’s no wind. Yes, I live in Oklahoma, so the wind comes with the experience, but I loathe wind. If there’s no wind, I believe I could run in 25-30-degree weather, although I’ve never tried. My favorite type of running weather is gray, cloudy, moist (perhaps even some drizzle) and between 52-57 degrees with no wind or a slight breeze.

That doesn’t mean I don’t run in the summer. But I hydrate a ton more, wear lots of sunscreen, always wear a cap and shades and take it much easier.

Today though in Oklahoma City was about 47 degrees at run time with virtually no wind. Sunny skies. Perfection. I did 5.08 miles in 1 hour 25 minutes. I know people who could run a half marathon in about that time.

Good for them, lol.

For me, today was an unexpected victory. First, I didn’t plan to run at all today. When I walked my wife to the car this morning as she was headed to work, I thought to myself, “Hey, this feels like outside running weather!” Second, she and I both dealt with a stomach bug earlier in the week. This run showed me both some long-term and short-term resilience.

(But don’t call it a comeback … )

And that 5.08 miles today represented more than one percent of my quest for the entire year.

January was very solid, but February has the potential to be even better.

3 thoughts on “Runner’s Blog: January stats on quest to 500 miles + first 5-miler in more than 3.5 years

  1. Good for you Ryan! The biggest thing about exercising regularly is finding something you like to do and can do for a lifetime (or a very long time). Run your own pace, keep a reasonable goal (which you have), and keep moving! Happy running!

  2. I had just read your post on your bulging disc. Then I noted it was from two years ago and wondered how it all turned out. Obviously, well! Congrats on making and meeting your goals so far. I just started following McGill’s advice as the Chiro Mackenzie method isn’t working on me. I too have no intention of surgery. Thanks for giving me hope.

    1. You are very welcome! Motion is lotion, whether it’s a slow walk or a fast run. The chiropractor visits were key but less about the adjustments and more about the exercises she’d have me do and the use of the electrode machine to stimulate the entire lower back. I also 100 percent changed how I bend down, squatting or using the golfer’s bend.

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