Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Annual Mileage

I am a terrible record keeper. I don’t save receipts or balance my checkbook. In the 12 years I was a skydiver I only kept a logbook for the first few years and even then it was the minimum amount of information. In the later years I would determine how many jumps I made each year by the printouts they would give me for taxes. I had several friends who kept very detailed descriptions of every jump. Weather conditions, who was with them, what type of plane. It would be a cool way to be able to go back and relive some of the moments by reading. Alas, all of the jumps I made are now only kept in my fading memories.

I was the same way in the military. Of the places I traveled, I have a very small stack of pictures. I am much better about pictures now, mainly because it is so much easier with digital media to save and go through them. I need to get all my old Marine pictures scanned so I can not only share them, but keep them more safely online. I have always known that there was value in saving memories by writing them down but until the past year with the blog, I hadn’t been able to get into a habit of it.

That brings me to the point of this week’s entry, annual mileage. Like skydiving, many runners keep very detailed logs of every step they run. It should be no surprise that in the past I was not one of those runners. I didn’t track any of my running or riding until I started the blog back in February of 2010. I can now, for the first time, accurately look back over the year and see how much running and riding I actually accomplished. I'm still, for now, only tracking overall mileage. One day I might get ambitious and track other details like weather and exact time. I am using May 5 as an anniversary date because it was the end of my bike to work everyday for a year challenge. I didn’t even really log mileage during that entire period but I knew exactly how many days I had worked so it was easy enough to calculate riding mileage.

On the bike I put in a little less than the previous year for a total of 2,957 miles. Just 29 miles shy of the distance across the U.S depicted in the map above. That route is 2,986. That makes two years in a row that I have ridden the width of the Country. In the previous year I rode closer to 3,900 miles. It was significantly shorter this year from all the days I ran to work preparing for Busiek. As much as I hate to admit it, I did actually drive a few days this year as well in the week prior to and the week after the 100 miler.

On foot I ran a total of 1,614 miles. Not quite across the Country with this one, at least not east to west. This mileage would get me from the northern edge of Minnesota to the southern tip of Texas, though. This is one of the neatest things about keeping track of the numbers. It’s kind of cool to think about the fact that last year I ran the equivalent of Canada to Mexico and also rode the distance of California to Virginia.

This year I’m also tracking a new exercise that I have added to my daily routine. The first week of March, I started using the stairs at work. I work on the 20th floor and there are 400 steps to the ground floor. I have worked myself up to going down twice a day and up once. I can descend them in less than 2 minutes and climb them in a little over 3 minutes. My current record for down and back up is 5:04. In just the last 9 weeks I have descended 84 times or 1,680 floors and 33,600 steps. I have climbed 40 times or 800 floors and 16,000 steps.

Upon first reflection, this may seem like an absurd amount of activity. Most are thinking, “I’m way too busy to do all that but good for you.” I hear this excuse all the time, “I’d like to be in shape but I just don’t have the time.” But here’s the thing, riding to work takes a few minutes more than driving. Taking the stairs a few times through the day is done while I’m at work and literally takes minutes. I have a simple exercise philosophy; find things that you can integrate into your daily life and make them a habit. I can’t bring myself to pay for a gym membership when there are plenty of free physical challenges right next to us everyday. Few people enjoy the inside of gyms anyway. Besides running, riding and stairs, I also have a couple times per day that I throw in crunches, pushups, squats and calf exercises. Don’t wait until tomorrow when you finally have that (insert whatever it is that is stopping you here) figured out. You don’t need anything to start getting in shape. Do something today!

Week of March 9 – Bike 78, Run 35, D 8, U 4


  1. Well said...and congratulations on all those miles!

  2. I like the new routine. Has to be good for you. My wife thinks you ought to pay for elevator unless you are disabled.

  3. Making people pay might work! You might be able to make it fun like they did in this video