Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

As I thought about what I wanted to write this morning, I figured this post would be about the professional/personal accomplishments and about the lack of running/fitness accomplishments. But I decided to calculate my mileage for the year and it wasn't as bad as I thought. All told, I've run 625 miles in 2010. It's not a lot of miles, and it's far from a record for me, but, well, it's much better than I thought.

There are two fitness accomplishments from this year that are worth reflecting on: making it to Los Angeles and completing a Century ride in one day.

Making it to Los Angeles

As many of you know, the title of this blog is about my three-year quest to run the distance of Philadelphia, PA to Los Angeles, CA over the three years that I was in law school. I tracked my progress on maps as I "ran" across the country by running wherever I physically happened to be.

On April 30 of this year, I made the final run into Los Angeles (Los Angeles International Airport to be exact). It was a long road of 2,736 miles over the last three years that allowed me to reach my goal. I wanted to complete it before I graduated from law school (more on that later) on May 15 of this year. And I made it by 15 days.

Running across the country is a goal that I never, ever expected to complete. But knowing that it was out there helped me to stay motivated in some ugly New England winters and hot summers to run all the miles I needed. I ran with some great friends and I couldn't feel any luckier for being able to do it.

Century Ride

I also did a 100-mile bike ride in 2009. It was the Seacoast Century Ride, but we ended up doing it over 2 days (the remaining 18 miles happened on day 2). This year, I completed the full 100 miles in one day, and in just about 5 minutes slow than the combined time for the year before. The ride this year wasn't without a few problems, but I was thrilled (and incredibly sore) to have completed it in one day.

What happened next?

Well, as you can see from the graph, once I completed my final run from Philly to LA, my running dropped off significantly. Honestly, the remaining miles to get me to LA were a pain. I wasn't in pain, I just didn't want to run anymore. So finally, when I allowed myself to stop running, I did. And the miles haven't picked back up. Though I averaged just over 12 miles/week for the year, the majority of those miles occurred prior to April 30.

I also picked up the mileage on my bike a bit. I biked 561 total miles in 2010, which isn't bad considering that I can only bike from late March to mid-September. I've very much enjoyed getting on the bike to break things up a bit. The only problem is that I don't burn nearly as many calories while biking as I do while running.


Beyond fitness, 2010 has really been more about personal accomplishments than about fitness. After three years of law school, I finally graduated and passed two bar exams. That makes me eligible to practice law in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts (though I'm inactive in Massachusetts). I also got an awesome job as a criminal defense attorney at the New Hampshire Public Defenders' program, which I absolutely love.

At the end of the day, after leaving my family and friends, not to mention a very good job, I am in my new career and I'm doing something that I love. It was an unbelievably difficult transition to make for me, but I wake up every morning thankful that I did it. I don't regret making the change, even if my bank account does. I never thought I would be, but I am a believer that sometimes you have to make the unprofitable decision to do what you want and need to do. It's not a philosophy that I've really ever bought into before, and I can't buy into it very often again, but I believe it. I am truly happy where I am doing what I'm doing.

So Happy New Year, everyone. I can't wait to see what 2011 brings.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Longing for the "dizzy" feeling

As I've shared (several times), I'm not in the training mode right now and haven't been for a while. You could call my miles "maintenance miles" if you were extremely generous and being bribed. I'm in the 3-mile range at this point, not because I can't do more, but because I don't want to do more.

That said, I recently did a 5-mile run. In the past, that was just a warm-up for a much longer run. Heck, going up until my final destination at LAX, I was doing 7-mile runs 3 days a week. 5 miles would have been me wimping out. These days, 5 miles is a bit of a stretch.

I was debating between Dizzy Dean and Dizzy Gillespie,
so I went with more recognizable choice.
But after I ran the 5 miles, I had this dizzy feeling that I used to get when I was putting in unbelievable mileage (which, for me, was 30-35 miles a week). It's like when you stand up and you know that you haven't put enough calories into your body. Your body is telling you that you have to eat. And when you're done eating, you still get that feeling, so you eat again until it goes away. This is one of those phenomenon that only runners would understand.

I hadn't realized how much I missed that feeling until I got it again recently. It's an odd feeling to miss, of course, because it simply tells me that I'm not doing a good job at regulating my calories with my fitness. But it is a feeling that reminds me that I'm doing a lot of fitness.

I'm still not 100% ready to go back into some intense training mode, but this recent dizzy spell did send me for a bit of a spin. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)