A Perfect Storm of Laziness

In 2018, I biked 3,213 miles. About two thirds of that was on the longtail cargo bike, and much of THAT was hauling the kids as the three of us bumped up against the weight limit of the bike. I was in pretty fantastic shape for a guy who had just turned 40.

Enter 2019. March 8th, I tore my Achilles. It wouldn’t be until July 5th that I rode a bike again. In the meantime, the kids were growing and growing and I was really no longer able to haul both of them for any distance, even if they wanted me to, which they increasingly did not. Then 2020 came around and COVID took away most of my motivation to bike – who wants to ride somewhere when you can’t go inside?

My strategy to deal with all of this and keep my fitness level was to pretend it wasn’t happening, and this clearly isn’t working. I’ve tried nothing, and it isn’t working.

I’ve always been pretty good about keeping up with fitness so long as it didn’t take any real time out of my day. Now that I have to work at it, it’s not going so well.

It would have been a disappointing time

Originally uploaded by thetejon

Except that I haven’t run in months. My first 10K since my foot surgery was both my worst time ever and a great success. My official time was 57:48, a 9:18 pace, which is well off my personal best of 49:38, but that personal best was in April, and since then I’ve had foot surgery and run less than 20 miles total, I don’t think this was so bad. It was frustrating to be so slow, and to not have that extra bit at the end. But after more than five months of almost no running, I expected it. I like the course – it’s at West Potomac Park, just south of the Mall, and right on the water. It’s flat and wide and scenic. The Run Geek Run 8K is going to be at the same place in a few weeks, and I’m thinking about running it, but I know I won’t have much of a chance to run between now and then, so I won’t do much better than I did this weekend.

Running, cramping

I went running today for the first time since before my surgery. Things were going great for the first mile and a quarter. My toe didn’t really hurt, and I was feeling pretty good. Then I got a leg cramp. I’ve never had one before from running. I talked to my sister, and she thinks it’s because “the surgery changed the biomechanics of [my] running”. That sounds feasible. I was trying to run normally on the bad foot, but I’m sure I wasn’t. But it was a good start. I ended up, according to Map My Run, running about 1.4 miles then walking 1.6. Next time I expect to do better. I don’t have much time to get ready for my 10K.

BMI is bunk

I’ve said many times before that we should stop computing BMI (Body Mass Index), we should stop basing any sort of judgments on it, and we should just stop even remembering that it exists. It’s a terrible measure of health, and it mistakenly classifies all sorts of people as healthy or unhealthy. Well, now I can say the same thing again. But this time with science! Chad Orzel, physicist and new father, says:

This will not come as a surprise to anyone who has ever put the stats for their favorite pro athlete into a BMI calculator (you want to tell Michael Strahan he’s obese?), but it’s nice to see it holds more widely.

He references a NYT article that I won’t bother to read because, frankly, the NYT gets on my nerves. But it says just what I said above – if you use BMI to judge a person’s health, you’re going to be wrong much of the time.