So THIS is 30 – Running by the Numbers
By: Amy Baker
Question: Which of the following is the BEST estimate of the total number of miles that I have run, since I first started 16 years ago?
A) 8,000 B) 36,960 C) 44,960 D) 49,920
Background info: I started officially running when I was 14 years old. I took off 8 weeks for injuries in 2001 (High School) and 2007 (Post College). Other than that, I never took more than a few days off… On average in High School (age 14-18), I ran 40 mile weeks. In college and after college, I ran on average 60 mile weeks. Now that meant sometimes 50, sometimes 70, but really I have been consistent with my mileage for 12 years…
See the end of the blog for the answer.
The ramblings: When I first started with Rogue in 2009, they called me “Amy Junior”. At 25, I was the young one in a group of mostly 30 – 55 year olds. My friends always said I had an “old soul” though, maybe because I go to bed at 9:30 and can’t stand loud music. Despite my age, I feel like a “veteran runner”. I’ve been training seriously for 16 years without any major lapses in goals or racing. I have had 4 top notch coaches, and even coached myself for 4 years. I am fortunate to have found something that has become such an important part of my life. Through the good times and bad, running has allowed me to become who I am today.
The first picture is my coaching in 2005.
The 2nd is me running the turkey trot (last Thursday). My 1st race in the 30 – 34 age group
In my 20s, I finished my education with a masters, I lived in 3 states, I found 2 careers, I became financially and emotionally independent, I learned to struggle, to pick myself up when things didn’t go my way, I ran 1:00:24 in a 10mile, 36:51 in a 10k, 1:21 in a half, and 3:00:52 in a marathon. I found friends through Rogue and know that these friendships will last a lifetime.
In my 30s, Of course I want to be faster than I was in my 20s, I want to train harder, put myself out there more. I want to create a family of my own and travel with them through the next decades. I want to break 1:00 in the 10 miler, 36:00 in the 10k, 1:18 in the half, and 2:50 in the marathon. I truly believe that all these are well within my reach.
With lofty goals, I have had to force myself to step back and look at where I am, not where I want to be. You can’t train yourself based on a wish… I have tried. I put my dream goal in the McMillian Calculator and tried to run those paces. I was tough and I did it, for one workout, and then for two… However, I was overtrained, too tired to do my normal day to day mileage and my overall training suffered. I got burnt out and eventually– I could no longer hit those paces, or anywhere close to them… The cycles just repeated and instead of getting faster, I got slower. I was handicap by my ambitious goals and a desire to be the best runner I could.
This uphill battle is familiar to many “veteran runners”. I think this humbling feeling follows after you realize the cliché “reach for the stars” is a lot more complex and difficult a task to follow through on. We all remember the days before we were “fast”. Our ability exceeded our goals and we were just carefree. For some this “youth” of our running comes in our 40s, for me it was back at 22. You train where you are because you have no idea where you want to be. Success comes quickly and the learning curve is steep at the beginning. “Reaching for the stars” may have meant running a 5k in 20 minutes, which at the time seemed impossible. Now, things are different and I can run 3x5k in a quality workout without much thought. I have higher goals and expectations,.… NOW WHAT?
So THIS IS 30…., I have lofty goals, and I will NOT give up on them… I will take a step back though. I will plug in my actual recent times (not my PRs) into the McMillian calculator and train where I am. The result, I believe I will get faster, little by little, though slow and consistent training. I will become the best runner that I can possibly be. In the mean time I need to train where I am, have fun, and be patient. I will not “beat on boats against the current” (Gatsby) but rather travel on the path that was intended. I will always work hard, but my hard work will go further when am working with the forces that be (faith, hope, AND exercise science).
So High school was 4 years or 4(52 weeks of running), don’t forget to subtract the 8 weeks off for injuries. I ran 4(52) – 8 = 200 weeks. At 40 miles per week this is 8,000 miles run just in High School. After High School, I ran 12 years or 12(52) – 8 = 616 weeks at an average of 60 miles per week so 36,960miles over the past 12 years. This totals 44,960 miles. That is like running from Austin to Paris (across water of course) over 7 times! I might be crazy, but at least I have been consistently crazy for 16 years. Looking forward to the next decade of fast times! JFR!