Saturday, October 31, 2009

50,000 miles

Today, Halloween 2009, my personal lifetime odometer flipped over to the 50,000 mile figure.  It took me 14 years, six months, and 19 days of recorded running (since April 12th, 1995) to reach that mark.  Over my lifetime of running thus far I have achieved a mathematical average of 9.4 miles per day, which includes vast stretches of non-running days due to various injuries.  I guess I should shoot for 100k by my 40th birthday?

Today's particular run was not much different than any of my other runs recently, of course.  I took a run to the top of Green Mt. here in Boulder via Flagstaff Road and the Ranger trail.  Despite getting ~30 inches of snow here earlier in the week, the sun was strong enough today to run shirtless as long as I wasn't in the shade.  The Ranger trail had been superbly packed into a trench (likely by the crowd of Basic runners) that provided some surprisingly tacky footing, which made for an unexpectedly easy ascent and descent.  It was just another glorious day in the mountains.  Which is not meant to be a trivial statement.

The funny thing about noting a landmark milestone such as this is that I find myself increasingly unconcerned with the number of miles I rack up in a given time period.  Especially since moving to Boulder, where the mountain trails are particularly steep and rocky, keeping too close of an eye on the number of miles covered is fairly silly and even counterproductive. 
 
And yet, I do keep track.  Maybe it has to do with my running roots in the hills of Nebraska where most of the dirt roads are surveyed on a perfect mile by mile grid, denoting the section lines.  There, it was almost impossible to not notice how many miles I'd gone.  Maybe it has to do with the classic standard that a "mile" is in the running world.  Most American distance runners quantify their training volume with this arbitrary unit of length.  Nevertheless, even given the assured amount of error in my total, I think it is still worth it to continue to maintain such records, if only for historical comparison, and to be able to--with some level of veracity--claim that I have run the equivalent of twice around the globe at its equator.

Tonight I dashed out into the Halloween darkness for another easy seven miles in the moonlight to supplement this morning's 18.  The legs felt splendid and clicked over effortlessly.  And, when I was finished I was sure of at least one thing--even after 50,020 miles, I have yet to achieve redundancy.  And I don't expect to anytime soon.

37 comments:

ken said...

congrats!!

Nemesis said...

"I have yet to achieve redundancy. And I don't expect to anytime soon."

Well said. People tell me that running is boring—as if their endless 9-5 pursuit of false happiness is an always novel experience.

Brandon Fuller said...

We missed you out on the trails for the Basic.

BIGMAN said...

Congratulations, Anton! Keep running the good race!

JeffO said...

Amazing mileage! I can tell you enjoyed all 50,000+ miles, although there were probably quite a few where you questioned your sanity in certain situations.
I graph my miles. I want my mileage to vary up and down in the hopes of avoiding injury.
For someone who loves to run, I actually reign myself in when I see mileage get too high. It usually means I'm goofing off and not working on quality workouts, which are less fun since they usually involve repeats.
Tracking miles is more of a planning tool. Out on the trail, mileage is the last thing on my mind.
So here I am still injured with plantar faciitis. I guess that didn't work so well for me, but I'm sure it postponed the inevitable.

GZ said...

Yeah - but numbers are fun. I have a bunch of geek questions that would go with this ... most per year, least per year, most per month (I think I already know least per month).

Love to see a study of winners of 100s like Pb and their mileage over their lives ... just not enough data there.

Gretchen said...

Beautiful post, Anton. I love such milestones, mostly for the reflections they inspire. Enjoy your next 50,000!

Chad Sayban said...

Congratulations, and here is to the next 50,000!

Alastair said...

It was just another glorious day in the mountains. Which is not meant to be a trivial statement."
Lovely.

I cycled 46000 miles round the world (www.roundtheworldbybike.com) so I more than most have a grasp on how far 50000 miles is!

Well done!

Speedgoat Karl said...

Rack it up! Good luck at MMTR...if you're going there?

See you in San Fran, I'll pick up your dust!

~stubert. said...

Great milestone. I hope to be able to run a few of the next 50K with you. Or way behind you, at least.

~stubert.
http://runsturun.com

Anton said...

George,

Off the top of my head, those "high/low" stats run something like this:
Highest Month--85x miles, June 2005.
Lowest Month-- 0 miles, more than once.

Highest Year--Somewhere in the high 5000's (I've never been above 6K miles), 2005.

Lowest year was my first, at 985, but it wasn't a total 12 months either (just April-December). Every other one has been over 2000 miles.

Highest week, 260 miles, three weeks out from the Western States 2008 that never happened. This week was an accident, too, just a function of my long runs being bumped up a day. Also had almost 40k' climbing that week, which isn't that much if you think about it spread over that many miles. Most of my runs in Colorado Springs started and finished with 45-60min of flattish running to get to the mountains, so the vertical numbers were never huge. More telling, I think, is that none of my doubles were over 5 miles that week. A LOT of long runs that week...

Lowest week, 0 miles.

GZ said...

It is pretty impressive to me that you have that depth to the your logs.

Of course some of those weekly / monthly totals are a bit mind boggling as well but ...

... most runner folks I know don't seem to have a good collection of their logs (me included) ... and these sort of numbers are guesstimates at best.

Dave Dunham is the marked exception.

AshleyD said...

hey anton, congrats on reaching the 50,000 mark! i really enjoy reading your blog. I live up in oregon so reading about the trails in colorado is always exciting.

do you always run alone? do you have any events coming up?

write more!!

seangavor said...

Wow, that's 0.00447 light minutes. That's a lot!!!

Journalism 200 said...

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If interested, please write at:
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Jeff Browning said...

Nice work bro. Pretty cool that you've been disciplined enough to keep track that long. Just touched down in Missouri to run Ozark Trail 100 this weekend. Weather is perfect. 60s and sunny. 100 miles of hillbilly singletrack...nothin' better. Keep it real, dude. Peace.

Gary Robbins said...

Congrats on that insane number of miles covered!

Sorry to hear you won't be at MMTR, although I guess I shouldn't complain given the obviousness of those consequences towards my own hopeful return to WS100 in 2010!

Keep on keepin on!

GR

ultrarunner (Brian Philpot) said...

Good miles and good fun.Good luck on all upcoming miles, and races.

Joel Toews said...

Thank you for sharing your accomplishments, very impressive! Your running and this blog is such a motivation for me. I'm a Canadian prairie runner, so I don't see a lot of elevation in my running, and hearing about your mountain trail running experiences is awesome.

Eric said...

Nice job.
I'm curious...how do you track the miles? Little ratty notebook? Excel spreadsheet? Notches on a bedpost?

Joe said...

As much fun as the mountains sound, I yearn for the dirt roads of the plains. It's nice to run in a straight line for an hour and only encounter cattle that have gotten out.

Dan said...

Anton,

Thanks for a great post and also for the inspiration you have provided to runners everywhere. I enjoy reading your blog and hope that you post more often in the future (when time allows). I've just registered for my first Ultra here in Oregon and can't wait for it!

Bunchgrasser
http://bunchgrasser.wordpress.com/

Al said...

Anton,
Congrats. I enjoy reading your blog. Its very motivating. I have heard a lot about your modifying your shoes. Sometime could you go into more detail about how you do it? I have a couple of pairs that I want to take the heel off of. Not sure I have the confidence to go tearing into them yet.
Thanks

Anton said...

Al,

Re shoe modification: I just take a serrated kitchen knife and carefully saw away the chunk of heel that I want to remove. I gradually transition it into the midfoot of the shoe--the idea is to finish with a "flat" shoe. However, take off less than you think you should because once the hard outsole is removed the heel foam will compress much more quickly even if your form is such that your heel only slightly touches down on each footstep.

Tony

Nacho said...

good motivation for all us here...

Vern said...

That's a pretty impressive stat, Anton! I found myself making a similar observation about the arbitrary nature of mileage as I recently passed 1,000 for 2009. As runners, we all know that the love of running is what it's really all about, but we just can't help tracking the miles...

Vern Myers
Running Green
http://vern-running-green.blogspot.com/

El Arco Iris said...

thanks for the inspiration ,Tony

Patrick Shamblin said...

I enjoy your blog. I get inspiration as well as information from it. Keep it coming! Running is only boring when your not doing it.

Doug said...

I can only gasp. 50k. Wow. Congratulations. You're blessed that your body holds up so well.

I run, preferably on the trails here at home at Rock Cut State Park. Like you it becomes difficult to describe each run although each run is different. If you care to see pics of my trail runs check out www.irunnerbuzz.com

Keep running!

Joe said...

I reached the 50,000 milestone the year I turned 50, and celebrated my 50th birthday with a 50-mile run, followed by a 50-mile bike ride, in a steady 50-degree rain. OK..it was really 53 degrees, but close enough. Congrats!

fritz34 said...

Incredible. Congrats!!!

d-joel said...

Congrats!
Long enough to run the world in a shot.

Frank Bott Running Log said...

Congrats Tony.

I take my mile tracking to another level. I keep track of distance, difficulty and emotional fun. Some days Tony things are just heaven with mind and body ticking away like a perfect machine. Other days the miles take for ever and the mind and or body is out of balance.

Example, today I ran 20 miles with a 5 for difficulty out of 10 and an emotional high of 7 out of 10. it makes for a cool looking graph over time and you see a big relationship to overall time: I record time too.

It is also fun to look over and remember those days when everything was perfect and when hell was just around the corner.

Enjoy the writing.. hope winter is not holding you back.. good luck with school.

francescotollett said...

first catch your hare, then cook him........................................

crunningman said...

No posting by Anton for nearly a month. My guess is there is an injury involved, "via the grapevine - Karl Meltzer's blog" or the masters work has him very busy? Let's all hope it isn't an injury.

Moncler Jackets said...

Only watch the 50000 miles from the tv..
this is the one who i respect
thank you for your sharing.