I went running tonight, late in the night after the rainstorms had passed through. I used to run long distance back in high school, with my favorites being the 1500 and 3000. But I pretty much stopped in college, due to a combination of being too busy with not enough sleep, the fact that winters were much colder and summers much hotter on the East Coast than back in the Pacific Northwest, and, from the time I was 18 on, because I was smoking.
I've been trying to quit off and on, and hopefully this will help encourage me to cut it out. And I've been developing a bit of a gut lately. It's not something you'd notice walking down the street, but I can definitely pinch a pretty good layer of fat around my midsection. I don't like that. And I've found that, at least for me, the best way to burn calories is to run. So, I'm going to start running again. My goal is to do at least 2 miles every night until it gets too cold to do it at night after work. After that, hopefully I'll be able to motivate myself to join a gym. But one thing at a time.
Tonight I did about 2 and a half miles (according to Google Maps) - I ran from my apartment to the beautiful Washington National Cathedral, and then back. They light it up at night and it looks really nice. I'm going to have to go visit it during the day when it's open sometime. It took me right around 25 minutes, or 10 minutes / mile. Kind of slow, but considering what horrible condition my lungs are in, and for my first night back into it, it's not too bad. And I felt good, especially starting about halfway there when I was going around the cathedral and then for most of the way back, I had a pretty good runner's high going, and I felt like I was pushing pretty hard. So I'm happy with that. I'm surprised I got the high after only a mile or so, but that is probably just because my body isn't used to that level of physical exertion. Back when I ran many miles on a regular basis, it took running at least 5 miles to really get that feeling.
It is a little cold tonight, in the 50s, and at first I was worried I should have brought a sweatshirt or something. But I warmed up pretty quickly and well before a mile I felt perfectly comfortable in just shorts and a thin t-shirt.
I figure (if I can keep it up), I'll be down to 8 minutes / mile within two weeks, and then 6 minutes / mile a month after than, and then rapidly diminishing returns from there on out, plateauing at around 5:30 or 5:15 per mile.
According to a handy little calorie counter thing I found online, running at that speed for that amount of time burned between 350 and 400 calories. Of course, that hot Krispy Kreme glazed that I ate this afternoon had around 200 calories in it. But, whatever. If nothing else it's helping out my lungs, and eventually I'll be able to run further and faster. With hard work, I hope to achieve my lifelong dream - to be able to eat a dozen Krispy Kreme a day and still maintain a svelte appearance.